O-1a and O-1b Itineraries: Best Practice for Inclusion and Elements of the O-1 Visa Itinerary

By Oakhurst Legal Group

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Oakhurst Immigration Law is a specialized Los Angeles-based law firm that focuses on the unique needs of professionals in the arts, sciences, athletics, and business with extraordinary ability. We help foreign nationals petition for O-1A and O-1B visas by organizing their history of extraordinary achievement to USCIS in as many O-1 eligibility categories as possible. We help our employer clients file the best O-1 petitions possible by staying up to date on trends and news regarding employment-based immigration.One of the most common questions asked by our clients is whether or not an itinerary has to be part of an O-1 petition. If so, how detailed does the O-1 Itinerary have to be?In general, O-1 petitions for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability require an agreement with a direct employer or agent that explains the relationship between the parties and prove that there is a series of activities or events for the beneficiary to perform for the desired validity period. The series of activities or events do not always have to be expressed as an itinerary in certain circumstances.

O-1A and O-1B petitions where there is only one employer and the beneficiary will only be working for the same employer doing the same activity may not require a full detailed itinerary. As an alternative, petitions with this structure can include a contract or offer letter from the petitioner that includes important details such as compensation, the term of the agreement, and any fringe benefits.

Beneficiaries who will perform services at various locations and book multiple engagements, most often, cannot support an O-1 visa approval because of a lack of detail. Typically, an itinerary with anticipated locations and dates for the length of the desired validity date is necessary when the foreign national will perform services at multiple locations. This is very common for O-1A and O-1B petitions for artists, actors, motion picture contract employees, and more. This includes artists who will provide services in a nationwide tour, filmographies who plan to work on several different projects over the next few years, freelance broadcasters who work for several different content platforms, and other similar creative industries. Petitions with itineraries should also include supporting evidence that the activities will occur, such as performance dates, venue contacts, promotion contracts, and other evidence.

An itinerary is absolutely necessary with an O-1 visa petition when an agent is an employer for the petition. This is if the agent is functioning as an employer and not serving just as the U.S. agent for a foreign employer. O-1 visa itineraries must include specific information to avoid a request for evidence or a denial. The bare minimum information necessary for the O-1 visa petition includes the kind of services to be rendered, locations for as many of the activities as possible, and dates are also very important. Each industry could have unique nuances and skills and USCIS is aware of this. For this reason, it is important to be aware of industry trends to include itineraries with the O-1 petition that match the industry norms of the petition.