P-1 visas

There are several different visas available under the P visa category. P visas allow athletes and entertainers to come to the U.S. temporarily to compete in an athletic event or to perform. P visas are also available for artists and entertainers to come to the US. to participate in a reciprocal exchange program or in a culturally unique program. To get a P visa, you need a specific job offer or contract from an employer or an agent in the U.S. or abroad. If you are an artist or an entertainer applying for a P visa based on your participation in an exchange program or a culturally unique program, you must provide documentation about that program. Athletes with P status may be allowed to stay initially for up to 5 years, with the possibility of extending your stay for another 5 years. Other P visa holders such as entertainment groups are allowed to stay in the U.S. for the amount of time necessary to complete the performance of their event and may be granted extensions of 1 year.

The P-1 visa category is available to entertainment groups and athletes who have achieved national or international recognition as outstanding in their discipline and who are coming temporarily to the United States. P-1 visa petitions can be filed on behalf of the applicant or applicants by either a US or a foreign employer, agent, or event organizer. P-1 athletes must be coming to perform at a specific athletic event. In order to qualify for P-1 status, an athlete or entertainment group must meet rigorous standards to prove international recognition. The regulations define this to mean "a high level of achievement in the 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 P-2 visa allows artists and entertainers to work in the US under a reciprocal exchange program between the US and one or more countries. The P-3 visa allows artists and entertainers to work in the US as developers, performers, teachers, or coaches for programs deemed "culturally unique." Essential support personnel of P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holders can be included in the P-1 petition as long as the persons perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a US worker and which are essential to the principal alien's performance. The person must also have experience working with the performer or athlete. for secondary versions of those same P visas. Accompanying relatives of P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holders are eligible for P-4 visas.

Support staff

For an athletic team, a petition must be accompanied by evidence that the team as a unit has achieved international recognition in the sport. Each member of the team is accorded P-1 status based on the international reputation of the team. A petition for an athlete who will compete individually or as a member of a United States team must be accompanied by evidence that the athlete has achieved international recognition in the sport based on his or her reputation.

Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify. The applicant intends to depart the U.S. upon the expiration of E-1 status. (However, an application for initial admission, change of status, or extension of stay in E classification may not be denied solely on the basis of an approved request for permanent labor certification or a filed or approved immigrant visa preference petition.)

The skills of the P-2 visa holder must be comparable to those of the US entertainer participating in the exchange. The terms and conditions of employment for the P-2 visa holder and his or her US counterpart should also be comparable. P-2 visa holders however are are not required to meet a certain level of proficiency, prominence, renown, or experience.

P-3 visas are available to individuals who develop, perform, teach, or coach in a "culturally unique" program that will further the understanding or development of your art form. The program can be either commercial or non-profit.