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O-1 Visa: Does the employer have to pay for your return transportation?

By November 1, 2021Immigration
A question bubble

O-1A and O-1B visas are for individuals with extraordinary ability in the science, education, business, athletics, arts, motion picture, or television industry. In some cases, your US employer may be liable for your return transportation to your home country.

Whether or not your employer (or agent) will be liable for your return transportation will depend on whether the employment was terminated by you or the employer. If the employment was terminated by the employer (and the reason was not your voluntary termination), then the O-1 petitioner (this means most commonly your employer or agent) has to pay you the cost of return transportation abroad (this means the place of your last residence prior to coming to the U.S.).


You have been working for Company XYC as an interior designer for the past 5 years. You just found out that the company is going to terminate your employment next week and you are wondering how long you can stay in the U.S. and whether the employer has to pay you for the flight ticket back to your home country. You are a national of Italy but prior to coming to the US, you were living in the UK for 5 years.

Once your employment is terminated, you will have 60 day grace period during which you can either find a new employment or you will have to leave the U.S. If you do find another employer who is willing to sponsor you for an O-1 visa, then the O-1 transfer petition has to be received by USCIS within the 60 day grace period. In the example above, the employer will also be liable for the cost of your return transportation back to the UK (not Italy): the employer can either offer you cash or they can offer to buy you a flight ticket back home.

Please see our blog post on O-1 Questions and Answers O-1 Questions and Answers here.

Please click here to find out whether you need to submit portfolio for you O-1B  visa petition.

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