Union & Management Consultations
The petitioner must obtain a consultation from a labor union before an application for O-2 visa is filed with USCIS. Usually, the proper union to consult is that which has a collective bargaining agreement in the particular field that the O-2 visa petitioner wishes to enter. If there is no such union, then he must consult with one that has extensive history in the field. If there is no such labor union, then USCIS will waive the consultation requirement. Consultations may consist either of the union’s opinion regarding the nature of the proposed work and the alien’s qualifications or a simple letter of no objection. If the union objects, however, then its opinion should contain a “specific statement of facts which supports the conclusion reached” per 8 CFR 214.2(o)(5)(ii)(A), (iii), and (iv). Although required from the petitioner, such consultations are advisory only and not required to be used in USCIS’ decision making on whether to accept an O-2 application. The petitioner should request a consultation in advance of filing the application with USCIS by sending the appropriate union a copy of the proposed petition. In addition, the petitioner may provide consultations from nonunion sources, such as individual experts or associations, either separately or as part of the evidence of extraordinary ability or achievement.
The majority of petitions that require union approval are for artists, entertainers and athletes as well as their support personnel. If the O-1 petition does not contain a union consultation, then USCIS is required to send a copy of the petition to the appropriate union within five days of receipt. The union has fifteen days to respond. If USCIS determines that a petition merits expeditious handling, and it does not already include an advisory opinion, then USCIS will contact the union directly for an expedited consultation. The union has twenty-four hours to respond by phone, or USCIS will adjudicate without an advisory opinion. The union has five additional working days to supply a written, advisory opinion. Reliance on this procedure is, in general, a bad idea because the more work USCIS must perform, the slower the outcome.
Petitions for O-1 aliens of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industries require, in addition to a union consultation, a management consultation. The petitioner may obtain this management consultation from the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers or Association of Independent Commercial Producers.
The consultation requirement for O-1 aliens of extraordinary achievement in the arts is waived when the alien seeks readmission to perform similar services within two years of a prior consultation for similar services.
Generally, unions provide consultations without delay or additional obstacles. Unions, however, charge fees for consultations. For petitions with numerous beneficiaries, consultations from several unions might be required depending on the job requirements. An experienced attorney can determine whether consultations from several unions are required.