This is a very common question made by potential O-1 visa applicants. Several entities may serve as an O-1 visa sponsor. These include companies, agents/representatives, or individuals. Depending on the structure of the visa, the O-1 visa applicant may either be limited to working with the sponsor in what is considered an employment or closed O-1 visa or the applicant may also be authorized to work with various employers in what is called an agency or open O-1 visa model.
If your employer will be serving as your sponsor, then you will be limited to working for your sponsor exclusively. In contrast, the open O-1 visa allows for the greatest flexibility, especially for those in the field of arts and entertainment, who are employed by the various production companies responsible for developing the productions in which the O-1 visa applicant will perform in the future. In the open visa scenario the O-1 visa sponsor is usually not serving as an employer, but as a central sponsor to allow an applicant to work with various employers.
In subsequent posts we will be taking a deeper look inside the O-1 visa sponsor/applicant relationship and different examples of common sponsorship structures.