P-1 Visa: Athlete/Entertainer
The P-1 visa is for individual or team athletes, and members of an entertainment group.
- The P-1A visa classification applies to foreign nationals coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete individually or as part of a group or team at an internationally recognized level of performance.
- The P-1B classification applies to foreign nationals coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding for a sustained and substantial period of time. At least 75% of the members must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members or the acclaim of a particular production, is essential. Note: Individual entertainers not performing as part of a group are not eligible for this visa classification.
- Essential Support Personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P-1 athlete/team or entertainment group, and who perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker, are also eligible for P-1 classification. Support personnel may include coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials and referees (P-1A support), or front office personnel, camera operators, lighting technicians and stage personnel (P-1B support).
Application Process and Required Documentation
A U.S. employer or agent may file a P-1 petition with USCIS. An agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.
P-1 petitions require comprehensive documentation, and the regulations set forth specific criteria for these categories. Typically, all petitions must include at a minimum:
- Documentation of the beneficiarys ability, achievements and recognition to the extent that the applicant satisfies the P-1 criteria, per the specified evidentiary criteria set forth by the regulations for each category;
- A written advisory opinion and/or consultation from a peer group (including labor organizations);
- Detailed itinerary with the dates and locations of work/events with an explanation of the nature of the events or activities;
- A copy of the contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or summary of terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed.
Once the petition is approved by USCIS, the individual must then apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
P-1 Individual athletes may be admitted for the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed five years. Extensions may be granted up to a total stay of 10 years.
P-1 Athletic groups and Essential Support Personnel may be admitted for the time needed to complete the event, competition/activity or performance, not to exceed one year. Extensions may be granted in increments of one year.
Dependents of P-1 visas holders (spouses of and children under the age of 21) may obtain P-4 status. Dependents may not engage in employment, but may attend school or college.
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