The P-1 visa is a specialty U.S. visa exclusively for athletes (or other entertainers) and their coaches or support staff. You may apply for a P-1 if you are…
- An internationally recognized, professional athlete or athletic team seeking to enter the U.S. in order to compete or participate in an event of international standing. There are many paths to proving exceptional achievement, which might include winning a substantial award, holding a high ranking, representing their sport's national team, or competing in the U.S. for a university. (This is the P-1A visa.)
- If coming to the United States as part of a team under the P-1A, the team must be able to provide a similar level of international recognition. Also, you must show that the team will be competing against other teams with a similar level of skill and achievement.
- An entertainment group that is recognized as outstanding, who plan to perform within the U.S. (whether single event or tour). The group must typically have been established and active with at least three quarters of the group's members able to show "a substantial and sustained relationship" with the group for a minimum 12 months. (This is the P-1B visa.)
- Coaching staff or support personnel of the athlete or entertainer who are required to help the beneficiary to pursue their field of activity. These staff would apply for the P-1S visa.
In the case of athletes, the P-1 does not preclude other activities that are not directly related to the sport, for example attending publicity events or endorsements organized by their employer or agent.
P-1 Visa Details
Please note that, in some circumstances, USCIS may require proof that the P-1 applicant maintains a foreign residence to which they intend to return.
P-1 holders may perform for payment and/or for prize money
They may undertake part-time study while in the U.S.
May travel freely both inside and outside the U.S. while the visa is valid
The term of a visa is usually based on the planned performance or competition schedule. The maximum allowable initial stay is up to 5 years, but this may be extended by up to 5 more years giving a maximum duration of 10 years.
Spouse and minor children (i.e. unmarried children under age 21) may accompany or visit (under a P-4 visa) Note that dependents on P-4 visa may not work in the United States under the P-4 visa.
Employers & Sponsors
The P-1 holder may more than one employer, sponsors and other revenue sources, provided the petition is presented by an agent (i.e. agent based petition). These may apply both to athletes and to entertainers. We are able to advise on the most suitable approach for each applicant's individual situation.
Employers may be U.S.-based or foreign, but they must have a contract with the visa beneficiary.
P-1 Visa to Green Card
Holder may apply for an Adjustment of Status and seek permanent residency while in the country under a P-1 visa. However note that this does not include support personnel.
Attorney Tips for P-1 Visa Applications
Jon Velie, OnlineVisas' CEO and lead counsel, gives his hints on qualifying or applying for a P-1 visa.
Alternative Options to P-1 Visa?
The P-1 visa is closest to the EB1-1 “Extraordinary ability” Green Card, which may be an option if the P-1 visa holder achieves exceptional results in their field during the term of their stay in the United States.
Online Visas has a long track record in securing P-1 visas for athletes across a wide range of sports, including how to secure the required independent expert evaluations to help prove the beneficiary's qualification.
If you are considering applying for a P-1 visa, please contact us to arrange your personal visa strategy session with one of our immigration attorneys.