P-1 Visa

What is the P-1 Visa?

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.

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.

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.

P-1 Visa Details

  • 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.


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.

The Most Common P-1 Fees and Their Associated Costs

  • Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: This is the primary form for P-1 visa applicants, which an employer or agent uses to petition for an alien worker to perform at a specific athletic competition or entertainment event. The fee for Form I-129 is $460.
  • Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service: This form is optional and allows the applicant to expedite the processing of their I-129 form. The fee for Form I-907 is $2,500.
  • Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status: This form is required when the P-1 visa holder is seeking an extension or change in their status while in the United States. The cost of Form I-539 is $370.
  • Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application: This form is required when applying from outside the United States at a U.S. consulate. The fee for Form DS-160 is $160.
Additional costs may include expenses related to travel to the U.S. embassy or consulate, translation of documents, document preparation fees, and costs associated with acquiring necessary supporting documents such as copies of passports, birth certificates, or marriage certificates. The total cost of a P-1 visa application can vary greatly depending on the individual's circumstances, but the applicant should expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars in application fees and other associated costs.


Form I-129

Form I-539

Form DS-160

  • Cost $460
  • Fees in USD
  • Filed on Behalf of Employer 
  • Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
  • Cost $370
  • Fees in USD
  • Filed by the Applicant
  • Adjustment of Status
  • Cost $160
  • Fees in USD
  • Filed by the Applicant
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application

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.

Click to play

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.

OnlineVisas 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.

Want to learn more?

Check out these articles below