Syndicate this blog using RSS O-1 Visa Sponsor – Agent or Employer?

One of the best parts (and I mean that facetiously) of doing an artist visa is having to find a sponsor. Hopefully this can be a clarification of what a sponsor is, and what his or her responsibilities would be.

A sponsor is someone who intends to work with the visa applicant in a professional capacity, and seeks to get that person a valid legal status in order to make that happen. The sponsor may be an individual or an organization, but should somehow be involved in the applicant’s field.

There are two general types of sponsors: (1) an employer – i.e. a person or company to whom the applicant will be providing services (e.g. a producer, theater, record label, etc.), or (2) an agent or manager, someone who is hired to represent the applicant’s interests and get him work. Most artists tend to seek an agent as a sponsor, because that allows them to freelance instead of being tied to one employer.

So what does a sponsor need? Well, first and most importantly, the sponsor should have the good faith intent of working with the applicant in the capacity stated. Second, the sponsor will have to provide certain information such as a name, address, tax identification number, number of employees, date of formation, and gross and net annual income. Third, the sponsor will have to sign the petition requesting work visa status for the applicant.

Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions that sponsors tend to ask:

What if I am interested in sponsoring someone as an agent, but I am not currently working as an agent?

That’s fine – the only requirement is a good faith intent to work with the applicant, which is really impossible to disprove. The immigration regulations do not require that an agent be a licensed talent agent under the laws of the individual state. You do not have to be holding yourself out as a talent agent to other clients to qualify as an agent for the purpose of this petition.

Do I have to pay any money as part of this process?

No. The costs of the process are what they are. Usually the applicant pays, but that arrangement is entirely up to the two of you.

Does that person have to pay me?

That depends on the two of you. The typical agent/artist relationship involves an agent who takes a certain percentage of the payment that the artist gets from the work. However, this is not required under the law.

Do we have to sign a contract?


As always, this is not legal advice. Call or email us to schedule a consultation.