Congratulations on your O-1B visa approval! As a beneficiary of this specialized artist visa, you are probably eager to start your new journey in the United States. However, there are key considerations and steps that you need to be aware of post-approval. At Sethi and Mazaheri LLC, we specialize in guiding artists like you through this process. This guide aims to shed light on various aspects including visa issuance, validity, international travel, and more.
Understanding Your O-1 Status Validity
Your O-1 status remains valid until the end date on your most recently issued I-94 card. This status is directly tied to your employment. If your employment ends, your O-1 status ends immediately. Importantly, if you’ve been granted a change of status or extension of stay, you are not obligated to leave the U.S. to activate your O-1 approval. Your new I-94 is attached to the bottom of your I-797 Approval Notice.
Employment Authorization: Employer vs. Agent Petitioners
If sponsored by an employer, your O-1 status is strictly tied to the specific position stated on the O-1 petition, and the duration requested. Any significant change in your employment—such as work location, salary, or job duties—may necessitate an amended or new O-1 petition. Alert Sethi and Mazaheri LLC immediately if changes occur.
Agent-sponsored O-1s allow flexibility to work for multiple employers or events during your O-1 validity period. If a new opportunity emerges and its compatibility with your current O-1 status is unclear, consult with Sethi and Mazaheri LLC, as some new work might demand a concurrent or amended O-1 petition.
Visa Processing and International Travel
Whether you’re transitioning to a new employer or planning international travel, you may need to apply for a new O-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate. We’ve detailed the necessary documents and steps in this process, including potential fees, security clearances, and interview processes. Additionally, we discuss third-country visa applications, notably in Canada, which may be an option for certain clients.
Port of Entry and I-94 Retrieval Information
Upon entering the U.S., you can arrive up to 10 days before the start date on your I-797 approval notice. It’s possible to request an I-94 card with an additional 10 days beyond the expiration date of your I-797. This is discretionary and not for extended work authorization. Always confirm the accuracy of your I-94 information online after entry, as this is critical to maintaining your status.
Address Changes and Your Responsibilities
CIS mandates all non-U.S. citizens to inform them of any change of address, which can be done online. Keeping your information current is not only a legal requirement but also ensures you receive all relevant communications regarding your status.
Acquiring a Social Security Number (SSN)
While awaiting your SSN, you are permitted to work for your employer. The Social Security Administration requires verification of your nonimmigrant status with the Department of Homeland Security. This usually takes about 10 business days post-entry into the U.S. We advise waiting for this period before applying for an SSN to minimize complications. Be mindful of international travel during this period, as it might affect your application.
Questions? We’re Here to Help
If you have any questions or concerns, need a hard copy of the O-1 petition and approval notice, or need further clarification on any of these points, don’t hesitate to reach out. The team at Sethi and Mazaheri LLC, specializing in Artist Visas, is committed to assisting you every step of the way.