A “P” visa denotes a category of visas issued to accomplished entertainment companies (circuses included), athletic teams, and athletes that have received an offer of short-term employment from a U.S. based employer.
P visa classifications are as follows: P-1, P-2, and P-3. Today’s blog topic goes over the P-1 Visa.
A P-1 Visa is available to an entertainment group, foreign athlete, or athletic team internationally recognized as accomplished and outstanding for a lengthy, continuous time period. The sponsoring employer will have to submit an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval, who defines “international recognition” this way:
“Having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country.”
Entertainment groups, foreign athletic teams, and the foreign athlete each have their own P-1 qualification requirements:
Entertainment group – An internationally acclaimed entertainment group that is recognized for outstanding performances, productions, and expertise over a prolonged period of time. In most cases, the individual performers must be recognized as an integral part of the entertainment group for at least a year to qualify for P-1 visa status, although exceptions can be made due to injury or illness of a key group member. The “one-year of service” requirement extends only to performers and not support personnel. Also, all individual circus workers, including performers are exempt from the one-year requirement.
Athletic team – The athletic team must have garnered international acclaim and recognition in their respective sport. Additionally, the athletic team’s essential support personnel may also be granted identical P visa designation.
Individual athlete – The athlete must be internationally recognized in their field, and provide at least two of the following credentials:
- Verification of past significant athletic participation within one of the major United States sports leagues
- Verification of past significant athletic participation with a major U.S. university in intercollegiate athletics
- A written statement from a sports league or governing body verifying the athlete’s international acclaim
- Verification that the athlete has received a significant award, acknowledgement or honor
- As few as 2 people may make up an athletic team or entertainment group.
- An athlete holding a P-1 visa is allowed to perform for regular payment and/or prize money, and can perform services for many different employers. In the case of additional employers, each must submit their own petition to utilize the athlete’s services.
- The P-1 visa is not restricted to the actual athletic completion, but promotional appearances, stopovers, and short vacations related to the athletic activity.
- Minor dependents and spouses may be granted a P-4 visa so that they may accompany the P-1 visa to the U.S. for the same duration.
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