What is P visa, and how do you get one?
In U.S. immigration, a Type P Visa or (Work Visa) is used for outstanding athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies who have a job offer from a U.S. employer. International recognition and International competition are used as evidence for Type P Visa.
The P Visa is primarily for internationally-recognized athletes and entertainers and also includes subcategories for their support personnel and families.
What is P Visa for Athletes?
For P-1A visa applications for athletes, there are two ways to qualify. One way to prove qualification is if the league require international recognition of its athletes. Most very good leagues do not have any such requirement. Major league baseball, for example, does not require international recognition. You or I could play baseball for the New York Yankees, if they wanted to hire us!
However they are a major league, which means an association of six or more major teams that have combined annual revenues of more than ten million dollars. In the case of major league sports, USCIS will want to see the athlete’s contract, together with a contract with a requisite labor union or peer group stating that they do not have an objection.
The second approach is to establish international recognition. If going down this route, you will need to show USCIS that the athlete has received honors in their sport, has competed in U.S. collegiate competition in that sport, if the player has been an international athlete (i.e. has competed in international competitions).
However, USCIS may negate such evidence if the competition was in a non-adult age groups (e.g. under 17 competition), considering such experience as not qualifying as international. We have however seen successful petitions using evidence of previous international competition at the under-20 age group.
If there is an international ranking in the sport and the athlete is internationally ranked, you can also obtain an expert letter that can detail why the player is internationally recognized, and you can also obtain a governing body official letter that discusses why the athlete is internationally recognized.
What is P Visa for Entertainers?
The P-1B is for internationally recognized groups. Those groups have to have been together for a year, or at least three-quarters of the members of the group have to have been together for a year.
A further sub-category of the P visa is for coaching staff or support personnel of the athlete or entertainer who will be required to help the beneficiary to pursue their field of activity. These staff may apply for the P-1S visa.
Please note that, in some circumstances, USCIS may require proof that the P1 visa applicant maintain a foreign residence to help prove that they intend to return to their home country in the future.
The term of the P-1 visa is usually based around the expected performance or competition schedule. The maximum allowable stay is up to an initial 5 years, however may be extended by up to 5 more years, thereby giving a maximum duration of ten years.
The P visa holder’s legal spouse and any minor children (i.e. unmarried and under age 21) may accompany the beneficiary or visit the U.S. under a P-4 visa. However, please note that dependents on a P-4 visa are not permitted to work in the United States.
A P1 holder may have more than one employer, and/or multiple sponsors and other revenue sources. The requirements is that the petition must be presented by an agent (i.e. agent based petition). We have extensive experience in this type of application, so feel free to contact our team to set up a free strategy session with one of our immigration attorneys to find out if this option may be suitable for your situation.
Athletes or entertainers may perform for payment and/or for prize money under the terms of the P1 visa.
A P1 holder may undertake part-time study while in the U.S.
And they may travel freely both inside and outside the U.S. for as long as the P visa is still valid.