Labor Unions May Now Submit O1/O2 Negative Consultation Letters Directly to USCIS

Feb. 11, 2019 Update: The USCIS has extended the policy discussed in this article to P visa petitions as well. Please see our full article to learn more [see article].

In most cases, O1 and O2 nonimmigrant visa petitions must include a consultation letter from a U.S. peer group, labor organization, and/or management organization. You may read about the consultation requirements for O1 [see section] and for O2 [see section] nonimmigrants on site.

On September 14, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had begun “accepting copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to a current or future O nonimmigrant visa petition request” [PDF version]. The USCIS explained that the process for the petitioner submitting the necessary O visa consultation with the petition “remains unchanged.”

The news release explains that the change in allowing labor unions to submit negative consultations directly to the USCIS was made by USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna after discussing the issue with union leaders. Some union leaders expressed concern “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.” Under the new system, if a labor union submits a negative consultation letter directly to the USCIS, it will be compared to the consultation letter submitted by the petitioner.

A labor union interested in submitting a negative consultation letter regarding an O visa petition directly to the USCIS should send copies to [email protected]. In order to ensure that the USCIS matches the negative consultation letter to the correct nonimmigrant petition, the USCIS advises labor unions to “include the last five digits of each beneficiary's passport number in the consultation letters.” The USCIS made clear that this new program only applies to O nonimmigrant visa petitions.

The USCIS will analyze the data collected after six months “to identify areas for improvement in the consultation process.”

To learn more about the O nonimmigrant visa category and other nonimmigrant work visas, please see our website's full section on the subject [see category].