O-1 status may not be granted if the beneficiary will do independent, freelance work in the US. There should be an employment relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary in which the beneficiary participates in an “event” or “events”. However, there is some flexibility with what “event” means in the O-1 context. For example, an “event” can mean:
The start and end dates have to be listed in the O-1 petition. USCIS takes a look at the beneficiary’s event through a “totality-of-the-circumstances” test, so USCIS can also consider services and/or activities in connection with that event. Furthermore, the period of an event may include promotional appearances and stopovers that are incidental to the main event.
To put “event” in the work context, professors can fulfill this requirement by having an employment contract detailing the timeframe in which the beneficiary will work. For business executives, “event” can mean a particular work project that the beneficiary is assigned to do. Thus, it is possible for an O-1 event to be long term if the employment contract discusses such a timeframe.
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