U.S.-based employers, agents, managers, sponsors, presenters, and organizers may all file O-1 petitions. The principal obligation that these individuals or entities assume in so doing is representing to USCIS, under oath, that the contents of the petition are, to the best of their knowledge, true. The Petitioner will also have to sign the visa petition, including a statement that they can be liable for the cost of transportation home for the alien if they terminate the visa early. The Petitioner will have to provide basic information about the company such as contact details, number of employees, years in business, and tax identification number. Serving as a Petitioner does not create any other financial obligations or liabilities.
We recommend filing your O-1 visa through your agent or manager, since this will give you the ability to work on additional projects that arise during the term of your visa. It important to make sure that your visa petition includes language that allows you to work on additional projects that were not included in your original petition. If you do engage in employment that arises after you obtained your O-1 visa, the employer may request that your petitioner signs an authorization allowing them to hire you under your current visa.
Whether a petition is filed on behalf of a single employer or multiple employers, there is NO requirement that the petitioner and beneficiary have an employment or other specific type of relationship. If your petition is filed directly through your employer, you will be limited to working for that entity only.
It is also very important to note that if you are no longer represented by the Petitioner for your O-1 visa, then your visa is no longer valid. Therefore, if you change your agent or manager, or if you are no longer employed by the Company that petitioned for your O-1 visa, then you need to obtain a new or amended visa to ensure that you are not working illegally.