If you are a professional athlete, a famous music group, or a culturally unique entertainer, the P Visa classification applies to you. P visas are available to certain artists, internationally recognized athletes, and certain entertainers who have achieved national or international recognition as outstanding in the discipline.
The P category has three subdivisions:
- P-1 nonimmigrants are defined as members of entertainment groups or individual athletes and members of athletic teams;
- P-2 nonimmigrants are entertainers who are part of reciprocal international exchanges; and
- P-3 nonimmigrants are those coming to perform in programs that are culturally unique.
The P-4 classification also allows nonimmigrants who are spouses and minor, unmarried children accompanying or following to join P-1, P-2 or P-3 nonimmigrants.
The purpose of this site is to provide basic information on what it takes to qualify for the P Visa classification. For more detailed information on the P visa and whether it applies to your situation, please call our law firm at 919-833-0840 or send an email to email@example.com.
Athletes and Entertainment Groups (P-1)
The P-1 classification applies to an alien coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
To apply for a P-1 visa, a U.S. employer should file the I-129 petition with:
- A written advisory opinion from an appropriate labor organization;
- A copy of the contract with a major U.S. sports league or team or a contract in an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in the sport, if such contracts are normally utilized in the sport;
- Copies of evidence of at least two of the following:
- Significant participation in a prior season with a major United States sports league;
- Participation in international competition with a national team;
- Significant participation in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition;
- A written statement from an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
- A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
- The individual or team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings; or
- The alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.
P-1 Entertainment Group
The P-1 classification also applies to an alien coming temporarily to perform as a member of a foreign-based entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. This person also must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group (ordinarily for at least one year) and/or provide functions integral to the group’s performance.
To apply for a P-1 visa as an entertainment group, the petition should be filed by a U.S. employer with:
- A written advisory opinion from an appropriate labor organization;
- A statement that the group has been established and performing regularly for at least one year;
- Evidence the group is internationally recognized as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time as demonstrated by evidence of the group’s receipt of, or nomination for, significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field, or evidence of at least 3 of the following:
- The group has performed and will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in production or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
- The group has achieved international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in its field as evidenced by reviews in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines or other published material;
- The group has performed and will perform services as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
- The group has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as evidenced by indicators such as ratings, box office receipts, record, cassette or video sales, and other achievements as reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications;
- The alien has received significant recognition for achievements from critics, organizations, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the alien’s achievements; or
- The group has commanded and will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services comparable to others similarly situated in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
P-2 Artistic Exchange
The P-2 classification applies to an alien coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country.
The I-129 petition must be filed by the sponsoring organization, an employer in the U.S., or the U.S. labor organization that negotiated the agreement. The petition must be filed with:
- A written consultation by an appropriate labor organization;
- A copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the U.S. organization(s) sponsoring the alien and the organization(s) in a foreign country which will receive the U.S. artist or entertainer;
- A statement from the sponsoring organization describing the reciprocal exchange of U.S. artists or entertainers as it relates to the specific petition for which classification is sought;
- Evidence the alien and the U.S. artist or entertainer subject to the reciprocal exchange agreement are artists with comparable skills and that the terms and conditions of employment are similar; and
- Evidence that an appropriate labor organization in the U.S. was involved in negotiating, or has concurred with, the reciprocal exchange of U.S. and foreign artists or entertainers.
P-3 Culturally Unique Artists
The P-3 classification applies to aliens coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.
The petition should be filed by the sponsoring organization or employer in the U.S. with:
- A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization;
- Affidavits, testimonials or letters from recognized experts attesting to the authenticity of the alien’s or group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching or teaching the unique and traditional art forms and giving the credentials of the expert including the basis of his or her knowledge of the alien’s or group’s skills.
- Documentation that all of the performances or presentations will be culturally unique events, and
- Documentation that the performance of the alien or group is culturally unique as evidenced by reviews in newspapers, journals or other published materials.
P-1, 2, or 3 (Accompanying Support Personnel)
This category applies to accompanying support personnel who are highly skilled aliens coming temporarily as an essential and integral part of the competition or performance of a P-1, P-2, or P-3. Essential support personnel must perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance or services of the athlete or entertainer.
The petition must be filed in conjunction with the petition for a P-2 alien by a U.S. employer and must be filed with:
- A written consultation with a labor organization in the skill in which the alien will be involved;
- A statement describing the alien’s prior and current essentiality, critical skills and experience with the principal alien;
- A copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed.
Athletes who have extraordinary ability in their sport can also apply for an O Visa. To learn more about the O Visa, click here.