P Visas: Athletes, Artists and Entertainers

OVERVIEW

A citizen of a foreign country, who wishes to enter the United States, generally must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel.

DEFINITION

The P-1 visa classification provides for admission into the United States of certain athletes, entertainers and artists, and essential support personnel. Individual members of the entertainment industry are not eligible for the P-1 visa classification, but individual athletes are. For members of the entertainment industry, the visa will be issued for a specific event only. However, individual athletes may be admitted for five years and a team for a period of six months.

The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.

The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.

ELIGIBILITY

P-1 Entertainers
In order to qualify, the applicants must provide:

  • Evidence that the group has been established and performing regularly for a period of at least one year;
  • A list of the members of the group and the dates of employment with the group; and
  • Evidence that the group is internationally recognized. Such evidence may include nomination or receipt of significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in its field or by providing three of the following:

    1. Past performances and the proposed US performance as a starring or leading entertainment group in productions or events that have a distinguished reputation;
    2. International recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in the field;
    3. Past performances and the proposed US performance as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
    4. Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes;
    5. Receipt of significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field; or
    6. History of commanding substantial compensation comparable to others in the field, and a similar level of compensation for the proposed US performance.
    7. Evidence that the applicant or team has received a significant honor or award.


    P-1 Athletes
    In order to qualify, the applicant s must provide:

    • A contract with a major US sports league or team, or for an individual sport with international recognition; and
    • At least two of the following:

      1. Evidence of participation to a substantial extent in a prior season with a major United States sports league;
      2. Evidence of participation in international competition with a national team;
      3. Evidence of participation to a substantial extent in a prior season for a US college or university in intercollegiate competition;
      4. A written statement from an official of a major US sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport that details how the applicant or team is internationally recognized;
      5. A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport that details how the applicant or team is internationally recognized;
      6. Evidence that the applicant or team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings, or
      7. Evidence that the applicant or team has received a significant honor or award.


    MAXIMUM PERIOD OF ADMISSION

    INITIAL STAY:

    Individual athlete-up to 5 years.
    Athletic groups and Entertainment groups-up to 1 year.

    EXTENTION OF STAY:
    Individual athlete-Increments of up to 5 years. Total stay limited to 10 years.
    Athletic groups and entertainment groups-Increments of 1 year.

    DEPENDENTS

    Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require derivative P-4 visa. Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visa, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver program.

    There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of a P visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the U.S.; they may study on derivative P-4 visa.

    WORK AUTHORIZATION

    The holder of a P-4 visa may not work on a derivative visa. If he or she is seeking employment, the appropriate work visa will be required.

    VISA INELIGIBILITY

    Certain conditions and activities may make an applicant ineligible for a visa. In some instances, waivers may be available. Examples of these ineligibilities are:

    • Trafficking in Drugs
    • Having HIV/AIDS
    • Overstaying a previous visa
    • Practicing polygamy
    • Advocating the overthrow of the government
    • Submitting fraudulent documents



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