How can artists “freelance” or work for multiple employers under the O-1 visa?
The O-1 visa will only allow a foreign national to work in the US through the US company that sponsors the O-1 petition. However, the O-1 sponsor does not have to be an employer in the strictest sense. Sponsors can hire foreign nationals as contractors and pay them under a 1099, but foreign nationals may only work with the sponsoring company or agency.
Under the immigration law, there are a couple of ways in which a foreign national may work for multiple US employers. One way is for the foreign national to be sponsored by a US company which is in business as an agent or is a company or individual that is going to serve as an “agent” for the purpose of the O-1 petition. Under this filing option, it is possible to work for multiple US clients through the O-1 agent petitioner.
Another option is for the O-1 to be sponsored under multiple concurrent petitions. This will allow the foreign national to work with different US companies/clients. For example, an artist can have an O-1 petition sponsored by a gallery to work on an exhibition and also have a concurrent (i.e. second) O-1 petition sponsored by an agent, which will allow them to work for multiple clients/galleries.
If an individual or company is sponsoring a foreign national as an “agent,” the agent does not have to be a source of income or employment for the applicant, However, it is recommended that the agent be in the same field as the artist.
O-1s for Entrepreneurs
In addition, while an individual may not sponsor him/herself for the O-1, an entrepreneur can set up a US business and, under specific circumstances, the US business may be able to sponsor the entrepreneur for the O-1.
Do you think you qualify for the O-1 visa? Please contact us for an assessment at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-522-4994