Important Rule Change In Where Visa Petitions Are Filed

On October 13, 2017, USCIS announced two important changes in where I-129 Petitions for O and P visas petitions are to be filed. Effective November 1, 2017: 

  • Petitioners based in TEXAS must now send O and P visa petitions to the USCIS CALIFORNIA SERVICE CENTER. (A similar change was instituted earlier this year for Petitioners based in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. This means that, as of November 1, 2017, Petitioners based in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, AND Texas must file O and P visa petitions with the USCIS California Service Center and NOT the USCIS Vermont Service Center.
  • All Petitioners must send O and P visa Petitions to the USCIS Service Center based on where the Petitioner is physically located and NOT based on where the performance(s) take place.  This new rule applies regardless of whether the artist or group is performing at a single venue or at multiple, different venues. So, for example:
    • If a Petitioner is located in New York and the artist or group is performing at only one venue in the U.S. in California, then the visa petition must be filed with the Vermont Service Center.
    • If the Petitioner is located in New York and the artist or group will be performing a U.S. tour with venue in California, Texas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, the visa petition must be filed with the Vermont Service Center.
    • If the Petitioner is located in Florida and the artist or group will be performing only in Florida, the visa petition must be filed with the California Service Center.
    • If the Petitioner is located in California and the artist or group will be performing only in North Carolina, the visa petition must be filed with the California Service Center.

These new rules go into effect on November 1, 2017. Any visa petitions RECEIVED by USCIS after November 1, 2017 and which have been sent to the wrong service center will be returned. This means that petitioners have a little less than 1 month to sort out the correct service center before USCIS will start rejecting petitions sent to the wrong location.