Approved Agents for O Visa Petitions
A U.S. agent may file an O-1 petition for individuals who are traditionally self-employed or people who use agents to arrange short-term employment on their behalf with different employers. In cases where a foreign employer authorizes the agent to act in its behalf, the agent may also file the petition for an O-1 visa.
Who qualifies as an agent according to USCIS?
There are a few categories that qualify for a U.S. Agent according to USCIS. The agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, or the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary. Additionally, a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer may act as its agent. Agent for Multiple Employers
Agent for Multiple Employers
It is possible for an agent to file for multiple employers. However, a petitioner who will be filing as an agent for several employers must establish that it is authorized to act as an agent for the other employers.
Agents filing petitions for multiple employers must include with the petition:
- Supporting documentation including a complete itinerary of the event or events which specifies the dates of each service or engagement, the names and addresses of the actual employers, and the names and addresses of the establishments, venues, or locations where the services will be performed
- Contracts between the actual employers and the beneficiary; and
- An explanation of the terms and conditions of the employment with required documentation.
Once the visa petition is approved by USCIS, the beneficiary can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the visa with the appropriate application and fee. If you need help in applying for an O visa, please call or email JCS Immigration and Visa Services. Our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys can help you today! [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]
Agent Performing the Function of an Employer
A petition filed by an agent performing the function of an employer must include:
- The contractual agreement between the agent and the beneficiary must specify a number of things. The wage offered and other terms and conditions of employment must be included. This only needs to be a summary of the terms of the oral agreement or a written contract. A contract is not required between the beneficiary and the entities that are hiring the beneficiary of the visa.
- If the noncitizen has to work in more than one location, the petition must include an itinerary with the dates and locations of work. The itinerary requirement has no exceptions when the petition is filed by an agent performing the function of an employer. However, USCIS can be a little more flexible on how much detail is included in the itinerary. USCIS does take into account industry standards when determining whether the itinerary requirement has been met. At a minimum, the itinerary should indicate what type of work the beneficiary will be engaged, where, and when this work will take place.
To determine whether the agent is functioning as the employer of the beneficiary, USCIS relies on the contractual agreement that you provide with your petition. The type of working relationship between the agent and beneficiary should be established clearly in the contractual agreement. It must clearly define how the beneficiary will be paid. If the terms and conditions of employment show a level of control over the beneficiary’s work being relinquished to the agent, then the agent may establish that it is performing the function of an employer. This determination will be on a case by case basis and will be based on the contractual agreement, whether written or oral.
Agent for Foreign Employers
The minimum general documentary evidence is required of agents filing petitions for foreign employers. All O-1 petitions must include:
- Copies of any written contracts between the foreign employer and the beneficiary
- A summary of the terms of the oral employment agreement that binds the beneficiary
- An itinerary of events and activities that includes the following: an explanation of the events or activities, and the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities,
- A written advisory opinion from the appropriate consulting entity or entities.
The regulations do not require any additional documentary requirements for an agent filing on behalf of a foreign employer, however, it is the foreign employer who is responsible for complying with all applicable employer sanctions provisions.