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Completing the I-129 Petition

PLEASE NOTE - Interpret all references to "employer" throughout the form to mean "petitioner." Also, USCIS recently published its decision to make permanent a policy it adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic to accept a "reproduced original signature" on forms, including the I-129. "For forms that require an original “wet” signature, per form instructions, USCIS will accept electronically reproduced original signatures" 

Part 1, Q.5: Include your federal employer identification number in question 5. It is not necessary to include a social security number or individual tax number. Leave those spaces blank or hand-write "N/A".

Part 1, Q.6: If you are a nonprofit organized as tax exempt or a governmental research organization, mark the box for YES, noting that USCIS considers a qualifying organization to be tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, section 501(c)(3), 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3), or a governmental research organization as defined under 8 CFR 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C). An organization that checks YES and will be seeking to pay the nonprofit filing fee for O or P visas will need to include its determination letter from the IRS or copy of a currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate among the materials for each petition it submits.

Part 2, Q.2: Check box "a" unless the beneficiary already has the classification requested. If so, check box "b" in conjunction with a) an extension of stay not involving a material change in employment (i.e., if the alien is going to continue to render essentially similar services under the aegis of the same petitioner). If the same petitioner is involved but the employment will change materially, check box "c." If the alien already has the classification requested based on someone else's petition and the classification period now sought overlaps with the earlier one, check box "d" unless the concurrent employment will extend beyond the prior classification period, in which case check box "a."

Part 2, Q.3: You must provide the artist’s most recent visa petition receipt number; if you are not requesting an extension of stay or change of status and don’t have access to a number, enter “unknown”. Provide the most recent receipt number, even if the Artist’s prior visa was in a different classification than the one you are now pursuing. Report the file number from the most recent I-797 receipt or approval notice (upper left corner). This number has historically begun with the initials "EAC" or "WAC" but now may begin with “SRC” though the entire file number may not always be reproduced. These initials, by the way, relate back to the old names of the USCIS Service Centers, with EAC being Vermont Service Center and WAC being California Service Center.

Part 2, Q.4: If you select box "a" in Part 2, question 2, consider what action you would hope to invoke by referring to our section on Communications between USCIS and Consulates.

Part 3, Q. 1: For any O or P petition, check the box for “Named”. Do NOT leave this question blank.

Part 3, Q. 2: Enter the P-1B or P-3 group's name or enter "n/a." Either way, if multiple beneficiaries are involved, insert "see beneficiary list [or petitioner letter]." When entering individual information here, or when preparing a beneficiary list, it is critical that you use each beneficiary's full name as contained in the passport, and that you enter that name, the birth date, gender, and the country of nationality without typos. Typos can come back to haunt you. If petitioning for a group, leave the box for gender blank in Question 4. For the immediate following question requesting an A number, the beneficiary generally will not have one, which refers to a pre-existing USCIS file ordinarily set up in relation to a permanent residence petition. If one exists, provide it. Otherwise, leave the box blank or hand-write none" in the box and "none" in response to the request for a Social Security number, unless the beneficiary happens to have one. Remember that as of April 1, 2024 the maximum number of beneficiaries that can be listed on an O-2, P-1B, P-3, or P-S petition is 25. Be careful to keep track of which beneficiaries are being grouped together for each separate petition and make sure that all the other information regarding the classification period requested and supporting evidence for the group as a whole is identical.

Part 4: With regard to all of the questions in Part 4, if you answer “yes” to any question (prior denials, accompanying petitions, prior green card petitions, valid passports, etc), you must now put your explanation on an official explanation page, which is part of the I-129 form. Not using the official explanation page could result in the entire petition being rejected by the mailroom and/or may give USCIS examiners an excuse to deny the petition outright, or issue a request for evidence.

Part 4, Q.1: Be sure to enter the city and country of the consulate, port of entry (POE), or pre-flight inspection (PFI) location to be notified. At "the person's foreign address," enter a foreign address for a single beneficiary or, if possible, an address for a representative of the group. This may be left blank for groups. Refer to this site's section on Communications between USCIS and Consulates if more than one consulate will be involved in issuing visas relating to the petition.

Part 4, Q.2: If a beneficiary does not have a valid passport but is (or will be) applying for one, explain this in the petitioner letter and on Page 8, Part 9, write in "applied for" at this point, or enter "applied for" on the beneficiary list.

Part 4, Q.3: Enter the number and type (e.g., "one P-1S") of any accompanying, related petition(s).

Part 4, Q.4: Check “no” to this question.

Part 4, Q.5: If petitioning for a change of status and/or extension of stay and dependents simultaneously seek the same benefit, answer “yes” and state how many I-539 petitions are involved.

Part 4, Q.7: If the petitioner has ever filed for permanent residence (a green card) on behalf of one or more of the beneficiaries, the answer is "yes." Even if "yes," the answer is irrelevant to O-1B beneficiaries (but answer anyway). However, if the answer is "yes" for any other beneficiary, consider contacting an immigration attorney in light of the nonimmigrant intent issues discussed in this site's section on Nonimmigrant Intent.

Part 4, Q.9: If you have previously submitted a visa petition on behalf of the artist(s), on Page 8, Part 9 of the I-129 list the application dates, visa classification (i.e. O-2, P-3), and receipt numbers to the best of your ability.

Part 4, Q.10: If filing a P-1B petition, answer this. If "yes," check the appropriate box and on Page 8, Part 9 of the I-129 explain the compliance with, and requested exceptions to, the 75 percent rule.

Part 4, Q. 11a and b: Some “J” visa holders are required to return to their country of residence for two years following the end of their J-1 program. However, they can acquire O or P status before fulfilling this requirement if they depart the U.S. to obtain a new visa.

Part 5, Q.1-6: For multiple beneficiaries, insert "see beneficiary list" (or the petitioner letter) for the job title and duties. Insert "see itinerary" (or the petitioner letter) for the address of the services. The LCA and ETA case numbers do not apply to O and P visas. Complete the space with “N/A.”

Part 5, Q. 4: Indicate whether or not an itinerary is included with the petition. (NOTE: Pending further clarification from USCIS, we are advising either to check “No or leave blank and write “N/A” in circumstances in which there are not multiple engagements and, hence, no itinerary exists.)

Part 5, Q. 5: Check “No” or leave blank and write “N/A” as this question only applies to H-1B petitioners. 

Part 5, Q 6: CNMI stands for Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.  Unless performing exclusively in CNMI either check “no” or leave blank and write “N/A.” 

Part 5, Q.7-10: Whether the position is full- or part-time makes no difference, but do provide some wage information, which can be per week, month, year or "event" or "total." For "other compensation," describe other costs the petitioner (or presenters) will bear, such as travel, room and board, and provide and estimated value.

Part 5, Q.11: Be certain to complete the "dates of intended employment" box, leaving yourself sufficient time at the beginning and end of the requested classification period to account for contingencies. Please note that “dates of intended employment” must include the actual dates of the performances, the dates for rehearsals and any additional time needed for travel, load-in and public relations events.  If this box is empty, USCIS will return the petition; if you make a typo, USCIS will rely on the typo though the results may be nonsensical (e.g., 7/4/98-8/4/97 will yield a one-day approval) and extraordinarily difficult and time-consuming to undo.

Part 5, Q.15: Select Yes or No depending on whether your organization/company currently employs a total of 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees in the U.S., including all affiliates or subsidiaries of the company. An organization that checks YES and will be seeking to pay a reduced filing fee as a small employer for O or P visas will need to submit evidence, which may include a copy of the petitioner’s most recent IRS Form 941 or Employer’s Quarterly Federal Return.

Part 6:  This section does not apply to those filing for artists and performance groups.

Part 7: The petitioner, not the beneficiary, signs.

O and P Classification Supplement to Form I-129:

Section 1, Q. 4 and 5: Give a brief description of the nature of the event and duties to be performed and refer the examiner to the petitioner letter for additional information.

Section 1, Q. 6: Provide the dates of prior experience for O-2 or P personnel (or refer to the beneficiary list or petitioner's letter). P support personnel are not required to have prior experience with the principals.

Section 1, Q. 8 and 9: The consultation portion of the O/P Supplement can be confusing.

If you have the requisite consultation(s), check "yes" to questions 8 and 9 and leave the rest blank. Remember, if you check “yes”, but submit only a consultation from a peer group or service organization in place of the required labor consultation, this could result in a petition denial or an RFE.

If the answer to number 8 requesting whether the appropriate labor organization exists is “No”, then you must provide an explanation on Page 8, Part 9. 

For petitions that include positions that both are and are not covered by unions (i.e. P-1S with administrative worker not covered by a union and technical workers covered by IATSE), answer “No” to Question 8 and explain positions not covered by unions AND answer “Yes” to question 9 for positions covered by unions.

Petitioners relying on the special O-1B forwarding procedure, in which USCIS is asked to seek the labor consultation letter should check "yes," to question 8 and check "no" to question 9. Do not complete the contact information for the labor organization, but insert "forward per 8 CFR 1214.2(o)(5)(i)(F)." Be sure to also address this request in your cover letter.

O and P petitioners that have requested a labor consultation with no response within 15 days should check “yes” to question 8, “no” to question 9, and complete the contact information for the labor organization.

O-1B petitioners using consultations obtained within the past two years should check "yes" to question 9 and insert "waiver requested - prior consultation attached."