Filing of Petition for an O-1 Visa through an Agent

Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay, California

Prominent Silicon Valley companies were displeased upon hearing that the slots for H-1B visa for 2013 have already hit the numerical cap. This compels employers to consider another option to petition their foreign skilled workers. Silicon valley is in Northern California at the southern part of San Francisco Bay Area and is a hub to the largest technology companies in the world.

H-1B numerical cap

The H-1B visa is available only to the first 85,000 eligible foreign skilled workers. This is the reason why employers are racing to petition their respective foreign workers to get them to the limit.

Employers are opting for plan-B

Recently hitting the news is the immigration experience of model and former girlfriend of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, Shera Berchard who obtained a “genius”  O-1 visa to travel to the US. Some hopeful employers are thinking of moving over to O-1 visa to bring a foreign worker to their companies in the US. Unlike H-1B visa, the O-1 visa does not have any annual numerical cap.

The O-1 visa is reserved to individuals with extraordinary ability and achievement in a certain field. There are four (4) types of O-visa:

  • O-1A Visa

  • O-1B Visa

  • O-2 Visa

  • O-3 Visa

Understanding a US Agent

In regards to a petition for O-visa, employers can have a US agent who must be qualified under the terms of the Memorandum dated November 20, 2009 entitled Requirements for Agents and Sponsors Filing as Petitioners for the O and P Visa Classifications. A valid US agent filing petitions as a sponsors can be:

  1. The employer of the alien or beneficiary

  2. The representative of employer and beneficiary

  3. An authorized person or entity acting on behalf of the employer

Agent acting on behalf of Several Employers

If an agent is going to file petitions for various US employers, it must demonstrate that it is properly authorized to act as an agent of different employers.  In addition, the agents who are filing on behalf of certain employers must include in the Petition the following:

  • Supporting documents;
  • Complete itinerary of the events with specific dates of corresponding services and engagement, names and addresses of the actual employers, the location of the establishments or venues or where the services will be performed;

  • The contracts between the employers and the beneficiaries;

  • Together with the documentation, the agent should submit an explanation of the conditions surrounding the employment of the beneficiary;

Once the visa petition is approved by the USCIS, the beneficiary may apply for the visa at a US embassy or Consulate.

Allowable Period and Extension

Duration of Initial Stay

Extension Period

 Up to 3 years

USCIS will evaluate the circumstances needed to achieve the purpose of the initial event. The period may be extended at 1 year increments thereafter.

What should employers do?

In order to facilitate the filing of a petition on behalf of their foreign workers, prospective employers should seek advice from skilled immigration lawyers who have adept and hands-on knowledge in outlining the action plan for individual applicants or clients who are looking to obtain an O-1 visa.

Because a petition for an O-1 visa may only be granted after an officer is persuaded that the beneficiary has met the criteria for extraordinary ability or achievement, the procedures demand actions over and above collecting and submitting of documents with the petition form. Employers may jeopardize the chance for approval when they proceed with the filing of petition without legal assistance.

Silicon Valley corporations may seek the help of Niren and Associates’ dedicated team of immigration attorneys in Los Angeles California. The firm has acquired adequate experience in handling various immigration cases for over 15 years.

Call the office at (213) 232-4397 or inquire at [email protected].

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.