The O-1B Visa: Petitioner/Agent Option

The O-1B visa is a non-immigrant, temporary work visa available for individuals who have an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. The applicant must prove their extraordinary ability by demonstrating their skill, recognition or distinction through sustained national or international acclaim.
A unique aspect of the O-1B visa is that an applicant can work on one or more different projects through an agent. Therefore, an agent can act as petitioner on behalf of an applicant. This is significant for occupations like artists, designers, producers, or entertainers, that do not rely on a single employer.
First, the O-1B visa identifies an "agent" as either: the actual employer of the beneficiary; the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary; or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.  The agent can be an individual, a company, or an organization that has an agreement with the beneficiary to represent the future O-1B applicant as the petitioner.
One of the biggest advantages of the O-1B visa is that it allows the visa holder to work on different projects throughout the duration of their stay in the United States (up to 3 years). This is different from other visas that limit the visa holder to a specific employer or project. 
Furthermore, working with an agent can facilitate the O-1B visa application process, as the agent assumes responsibility before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This can help identify who the petitioner is for the O-1B application, especially if there are multiple different projects and no singular company is able to act as Petitioner. This allows for the focus of the O-1B application to be on evidence gathering to show the beneficiary's extraordinary ability/achievement through any awards received, critical reviews, publications, and other pertinent evidence.
The O-1B visa Petitioner/Agent option is especially significant for artists and entertainers who have the future ability to work on different projects in the United States. This unique aspect of the O-1B visa Petitioner/Agent option allows applicants to work on different unrelated projects while presenting their extraordinary talent throughout the U.S. and hopefully around the world.
If you would like to discuss the O-1B visa process including whether the Petitioner/Agent option is right for you. Please reach out to the trusted immigration team at Chugh, LLP.

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