O-1 visas are more flexible than other nonimmigrant visas. However, there are work restrictions and limitations that you should be aware of in order to make the most of your status.
An O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is available for those individuals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in their field. There are O-1A visa for those whose fields include science, business, education, and athletics. An O-1B visa is available for those individuals who are in the motion picture or television industry. There are strict standards that must be met in order to qualify for an O-1 visa.
Although an O-1 visa is fairly flexible, there are still a number of work restrictions, including:
- You Cannot Sponsor Your Own Visa—an O-1 visa application can only be sponsored by a United States employer or an O-1 visa agent. There must be a contractual agreement between the O-1 visa holder and the agent.
- Changing Employers—while an O-1 visa holder can work for multiple employers and can change employers, there are restrictions on this privilege. If you want to switch employers, you need to have your new employer file a new petition. If your original petition was filed by an agent, an amended petition must be filed with evidence from the new employer.
- Material Changes—an amended O-1 petition must be filed any time there is a material change in the terms and conditions of your employment. Smaller changes do not require an amended petition. Differentiating between material and immaterial changes can be difficult. Working with an immigration attorney can help.
- Job Description—the employment of an O-1 visa holder is restricted to only the types of activities and events for which your petition was approved. You can’t engage in any activity outside of the itinerary submitted with your application. Your employment must also start and end on the date specified in the application.
Contact An Experienced Visa Attorney
If you’re interested in petitioning for an O-1 visa, you should consult with an experienced visa attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we’re happy to explore your options and walk you through the process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.