A short-term U.S. work visa known as the P visa is available to outstanding athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies (including circuses) with a job offer from a U.S. employer. (This comes from the federal Immigration and Nationality Act at I.N.A. § 101(a)(15)(P), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(P) and the Code of Federal Regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(p)). Their essential support personnel may also be granted visas with the same letter-number designations.
There is no annual limit on the number of people who can receive P visas.
P-1 Visa for Entertainment Groups
- P-1 visa classification is intended for entertainment groups only (not individuals) who perform at “internationally recognized” level for a sustained and substantial period of time. Internationally recognized means “a high level of achievement in the field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition, substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent such achievement is renowned, leading, or well-known in more the one country.”
- P-1 individual entertainers must demonstrate that at least 75 percent of group members have been performing together with the group for at least one year. The one-year membership requirement does not apply to circus personnel. P-1 status is granted based on the group’s reputation as a whole, not on the basis of individual achievement.
P-1A for athletes
- Individual Athletes – You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.
- Athletic Team – You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.
Individuals may file a self-petition up to two (2) years after divorce from the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse. If the I-360 petition is approved, individuals may immediately qualify for a green card if they are an immediate relative or if a visa number is currently available. As an approved self-petitioner, they will qualify to file for a green card here in the U.S. even if they entered the U.S. without permission.
How do I qualify as an Athlete?
- proof of the applicant’s or team’s previous significant participation with a major U.S. sports league
- proof of participation in an international competition with a national team
- proof of previous significant participation with a U.S. college in intercollegiate competition
- a written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or the governing body of the sport, explaining exactly how the person or team is internationally recognized
- a written statement from the sports media or a recognized expert regarding the person’s or team’s international recognition
- evidence that the person or team is internationally ranked, or
- proof that the person or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.
P-2 Individual Performer or Member of Performance Group Entering the U.S. to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program
P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to the U.S. to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program
For a P-3 visa, you must be coming to the United States either individually or as a group for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. In addition, you must be coming to the United States to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of your art form. The program may be of a commercial or noncommercial nature.
How do I qualify?
- statements from recognized experts showing the authenticity of the person or group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching, or teaching the unique or traditional art form and showing the basis of knowledge of the person or group’s skill, or
- evidence that the person or group’s art form is culturally unique, as shown by reviews in newspapers, journals, or other published materials, and that the performance will be culturally unique.
Support Personnel for P-1, P-2, and P-3 Visa Holders
- Highly skilled, essential persons who are an integral part of the performance of a P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holder may also be granted P visas (with the same visa designation as the primary visa holder). These persons must perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and that are essential to the successful performance of services by the P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holder.
- The support person must have appropriate qualifications to perform the services, critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed, and experience in providing such support to the P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holder. (See 8 C.F.R. § 214.2 (p)(3).)
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