The P1 visa is a U.S. visa exclusively for athletes and other entertainers who wish to enter the U.S. to perform, as well as their coaches and necessary support staff.
The P-1A classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to the United States solely for the purpose of performing at a specific athletic competition as
- An individual athlete at an internationally recognized level of performance; or
- Part of a group or team at an internationally recognized level of performance; or
- A professional athlete; or
- An athlete or coach, as part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association; or
The P-1A classification also applies to professional or amateur athletes coming temporarily to the United States solely to perform in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour, individually or as part of a group.
Eligibility Criteria for the P-1A Visa
Internationally Recognized Individual Athletes
You must be coming to the United States to participate in a specific athletic competition in a sport in which you are internationally recognized. You are internationally recognized if you have a high level of achievement in a sport, demonstrated by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. Your achievement must be renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country. The competition(s) you wish to participate in must have a distinguished reputation and be at an internationally recognized level of performance such that it requires the participation of an internationally recognized athlete.
Internationally Recognized Athletic Teams
You must be coming to the United States to participate in an athletic competition with a team that, as a unit, has achieved international recognition in the sport. The competition in which your team is participating must have a distinguished reputation and be at an internationally recognized level of performance such that it requires the participation of an internationally recognized athletic team.
You must be coming to the United States to be employed as an athlete by:
- A team that is a member of an association of six or more professional sports teams whose total combined revenues exceed $10 million per year. The association must govern the conduct of its members and regulate the contests and exhibitions in which its member teams regularly engage; or
- Any minor league team that is affiliated with such an association.
Amateur Athletes or Coaches
You must be coming to the United States to perform as an athlete or coach as part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association. The foreign league or association must meet the following requirements:
- The league or association must consist of 15 or more amateur sports teams; Participation in the league must make players temporarily or permanently ineligible under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules to:
- Earn a scholarship in the sport at a U.S. college or university; or
- Participate in the sport at a U.S. college or university;
- The league or association must be the highest level of amateur performance of that sport in the relevant foreign country; and
- A significant number of the individuals who play in the league or association are drafted by a major sports league or a minor league affiliate.
Theatrical Ice Skaters
You must be coming to the United States to participate in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour as a professional or amateur athlete who performs individually or as part of a group.
Essential Support Personnel
Essential support personnel are eligible for P-1S classification if they are an integral part of the performance of a P-1 nonimmigrant and perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker. Support personnel may include coaches, scouts, trainers, broadcasters, referees, linesmen, umpires, and interpreters.
The petitioner must file a separate Form I-129 for essential support personnel. The petition must include the following documents:
- A consultation from an appropriate labor organization with expertise in the area of the essential support person’s skill;
- A statement describing the essential support person’s prior and current essentiality, critical skills, and experience with the P-1 athlete or team (unless coming to work in a Major League Sport); and
A copy of a written contract between the employer and the essential support personnel or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the essential support personnel will be employed.
How to Apply for an P-1A Visa ?
In order for you to come to the United States with the P1 classification, your U.S. employer, agent, or sponsor must file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) for you and submit the appropriate fee and supporting documentation. Your U.S. employer, agent, or sponsor must also file Form I-129 to extend your stay in or to request a change of status to P-1A classification.
If a U.S. agent will be filing Form I-129 for you to work for multiple employers while in the United States, the agent must establish that he or she is authorized to act as an agent for all of your employers.
Once USCIS approves the Form I-129, you can apply for a visa at your respective U.S. embassy or consulate.
Period of Stay Under a P-1A
An individual athlete is authorized to stay in the United States for the necessary amount of time needed to complete the event, competition, or performance. A essential support personnel is authorized to remain in the U.S. for the time needed to complete the event, activity, or performance. This time period cannot exceed one year. An athletic group may remain in the U.S. for time needed to complete the event, competition, or performance. This period of time cannot exceed one year.
Change of Employer
If you are a professional P-1 athlete who is traded from one organization to another organization, your employment authorization will automatically continue for a period of 30 days after acquisition by the new organization, within which time the new organization must file a new Form I-129 for P-1 nonimmigrant classification. If your new employer, agent, or sponsor files a new Form I-129 within 30 days, you will remain in valid P-1 status, and your employment continues to be authorized, until the petition is adjudicated. If your new employer, agent, or sponsor does not file a new Form I-129 or the new petition is denied, employment authorization will cease.
In all other situations, you may change employers, but the new employer, your agent, or your sponsor must first file a new Form I-129 with USCIS requesting permission to employ you and extend your stay. You may not start working for the new employer until USCIS has approved the new Form I-129.
Family of P-1A Nonimmigrants
The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a P1 visa recipient may obtain P-4 nonimmigrant status. P-4 status does not authorize grant them the ability to work in the United States, but they may attend school or college. If these family members are already in the United States and seeking a change of status to or an extension of stay in P-4 classification, they may apply collectively, with fee, on a Form I-539 (Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status).
P-1B: Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group
The P-1B classification applies to you if you are coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been established for a minimum of one year and recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
Eligibility Criteria for the P-1B Visa
At least 75 percent of the members of your group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year.
Your entertainment group must be internationally recognized, having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members or the acclaim of a particular production, is essential.
Note: Individual entertainers not performing as part of a group are not eligible for this visa classification.
Special Provisions for Certain Entertainment Groups
Alien circus performers and essential circus personnel are exempt the one year requirement and the internationally recognized requirement. The alien or aliens must be coming to join a nationally recognized circus.
Certain nationally known entertainment groups may have the internationally recognized requirement waived if they can establish they have been recognized nationally as outstanding in its discipline for a sustained amount of time in consideration of special circumstances.
Essential Support Personnel
Essential Support Personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P-1 entertainer(s) and who perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker, are eligible for P-1 classification. Support personnel include front office personnel, camera operators, lighting technicians and stage personnel.
The U.S. employer must file a separate Form I-129 for support personnel. The petition must include the following documents:
- A consultation from an appropriate labor organization
- A statement describing the support person’s prior and current essentially, critical skills, and experience with the P-1 entertainer(s)
- A copy of a written contract between the employer and the support person or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the support person will be employed
How to Apply for the P-1B Visa ?
Your U.S. employer, United States sponsoring organization, United States agent, or foreign employer through a United States agent must submit:
- Form I-129 (Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker) accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation. Please note that the petitioner will be filing as an agent for multiple employers, it must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent for all of your employers.
- A consultation from an appropriate labor organization regarding the nature of the work to be done or a statement proving that the group has been established and performing regularly for a period of at least one year (If no appropriate labor organization exists, this requirement is excused)
Once the visa petition is approved, you can apply at your respective U.S. embassy or consulate.
Period of Stay Under a P-1B Visa
The initial period of stay under a P-1B visa is the proper time needed to complete the event, competition or performance. This initial stay is not to exceed one year. If necessary, an extension of stay may be provided in increments of up to 1 year.
Change of Employer with a
You may change employers, but only after your new employer has filed a new Form I-129 with USCIS requesting permission to employ you and extend your stay. You may not commence employment with the new employer until the Form I-129 has been approved.
Family of P-1B Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 status. Your dependents may not engage in employment, but may attend school or college.