Many of our new clients think that they can automatically get an O-1 visa for 3 years. This is a common misconception. The immigration regulations state that O-1 visa holder can come to the U.S. to perform services relating to an event/events and the O-1 visa will be granted for a period of time necessary to accomplish the particular event or activity (but not exceeding 3 years). Therefore, in your O-1 petition it is extremely important to submit evidence describing what is the “event/activity” you are coming to the U.S. to accomplish.
What is an event?
Federal regulations define event as an activity such as but not limited to:
- a scientific project
- lecture series
- business project
- academic year,
- or an engagement.
Please note that a group of related activities may be considered to be an event.
You will have to submit an explanation of the nature of the event(s)/activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities with your O-1 petition.
If you will be only working for one O-1 employer at one location, you can submit an employment contract listing your job duties and that could be considered as an event. The employment letter should have a beginning and end date, and should list your compensation.
On the other hand, if you will be performing various engagements at multiple venues, you will have to include an itinerary with your O-1 petition that lists the dates and locations of you work. For example, a musician coming to tour the U.S. at different venues will need to provide an itinerary of confirmed and tentative performance dates for requested duration of the visa, in addition to contracts with each venue on the itinerary.
What if I submit an itinerary but there are gaps between my engagements?
An event may include short vacations, promotional appearances, and stopovers which are incidental and/or related to the event. As mentioned above, a group of related events may be considered to be an event. Our clients often ask us: how long can the gap be between the particular engagements? The regulations do not specify how long the gap can be and the adjudicators should evaluate the totality of the evidence when deciding whether the activities are related in such way that they are considered to be one event, or whether the engagement are separate events.
In the example above, all concerts could be considered to be one event if there are gaps between the particular concerts if you submit an itinerary of the tour. If the tour has the same performers and it is the same/similar performance at different venues in the U.S., the tour would probably be considered as one event.
Please see our blog post on O-1B visa when you click here.
Please see our blog post on what are your chances for O-1B approval when you click here.
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