USCIS Now Accepting Copies of Negative O Visa Consultations Directly from Labor Unions
This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.
Effective September 14, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun accepting copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to a current or future O nonimmigrant visa petition request. A consultation letter from a U.S. peer group, labor organization and/or management organization is generally required for petitions in the O visa classification.
O-1 and O-2 nonimmigrant visas are available to individuals with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, athletics or the arts; individuals with extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry; and certain essential support personnel.
USCIS explained that typically, a petitioner submits the necessary O visa consultation with the petition and that this process requirement remains unchanged. USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna recently met with several labor unions to discuss concerns they had with the consultation process for O visa petitions, particularly “that some advisory opinions may be falsified by petitioners and submitted to USCIS as no-objections or favorable consultations, when in fact these were negative,” the agency said. The labor unions will now be able to send a copy of a negative consultation letter to USCIS so it can be compared to the consultation letter submitted to USCIS by the petitioner.
USCIS said labor unions should send copies of negative O nonimmigrant consultation letters to UnionConsultationMailbox@uscis.dhs.gov. To make sure USCIS matches the letters to the correct petitions, labor unions should include the last five digits of each beneficiary’s passport number in the consultation letters.
After six months, USCIS will analyze the data collected “to identify areas for improvement in the consultation process.”