Eligibility, Requirements, and Application Process
Both artists and entertainers, individually or as part of groups, entering the United States to perform under a reciprocal exchange program may qualify for a P-2 visa. Support personnel may also be eligible.
Eligibility Criteria for P-2 Visa
- The American Federation of Musicians (U.S.) and the American Federation of Musicians (Canada);
- Actor’s Equity Association (U.S.) and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association;
- Actor’s Equity Association (U.S.) and the British Actors’ Equity Association;
- The International Council of Air Shows and the Canadian Air Show Association.
- The Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). The Screen Actor Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).
USCIS will accept and review reciprocal agreements other than these five and decide if regulatory standards are met.
Additionally, you must possess the equivocal skills of U.S. artists and entertainers participating in the program outside the U.S.
The P-2 Application Process and Fees
P-2 visas require a U.S. sponsoring labor organization or U.S. employer to file “Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker”. The P-2 visa requires a non-refundable application fee of $460. Consult the “Department of State’s, travel.state.gov” page for visa application processing and issuance fees
An agent filing on behalf of multiple employers must establish authorization to act as an agent on all accounts. Here are the “Requirements for Agents and Sponsors Filing as Petitioners for the O and P Visa Classifications.”
Supporting Documents for P-2 Visa
When submitting Form I-129, include the following:
- The written consultation report from the recognized labor organization.
- Copy of the final reciprocal exchange agreement between the sponsoring U.S. organization(s) and the foreign host organization(s).
- Description of the reciprocal exchange of U.S. artists or entertainers from the sponsoring organization about the specific petition.
- Evidence that the applicant and the U.S. artist or entertainer have comparable skills and the organization in another country has equivalent employment terms and conditions.
- Evidence of negotiation with an appropriate U.S. labor organization. Or negotiation has concurred with the reciprocal exchange of U.S. and foreign artists or entertainers.
Note: Must submit an itinerary listing event dates and locations of events or performances in multiple areas.
P-2 Visa Application Checklist
Once USCIS approves your Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), you can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Several steps in the visa application process can vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Consult the instructions on the embassy or consulate website where you will apply.
Complete The Online Visa Application
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- Complete the online visa application and
- print the application confirmation page to bring to your interview.
- Photo – Upload your 2×2 photo with Form DS-160. See Photograph Requirements.
Schedule a P-2 Visa Interview
We recommend scheduling your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. It can be challenging to qualify outside of your place of permanent residence.
Apply for your visa early; interview wait times vary by location, season, and visa category.
Gather Required P-2 Documents
Before your visa interview, gather and prepare the following:
- Passport allowing travel to the U.S. and valid for at least six months past the authorized period of stay. (Unless exempt by country-specific agreements.)
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Application fee payment receipt.
- Photo – You will upload your photo with Form DS-160. It is a good idea to bring one printed backup.
- Receipt Number for your approved Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129
Initial Period of Stay & P-2 Visa Extension
The initial period of stay is for the duration of the event, competition, or performance but cannot exceed one year. Extensions are available in increments of up to one year to continue or complete the event, competition, or performance.
Change of Employment
P-2 visa holders may switch employers after the new employer files a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and USCIS grants permission.
Apply for a change of status, an extension, or a change of employment using Form I-129.
P-2 Visa for Essential Support Personnel
Essential support personnel integral to the entertainer or group may be eligible for P-2 classification. Support personnel includes stagehands, trainers, or those with critical knowledge of the specific services.
For support personnel, the employer or agent has to file a separate Form I-129 and requires the following documents:
- The written consultation report from the recognized labor organization
- A statement describing the support person’s essential skills and experience related to the P-2 artist or entertainer.
- Copy of the written contract between the employer and the support person or a summary of the oral employment agreement terms.
Family of P-2 Visa Holders
A P-2 visa holder spouse and unmarried children under 21 can get P-4 status. P-2 dependents cannot work but may attend school or college.