The P-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category designed for athletes, entertainers, and their essential support personnel who wish to come to the United States temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition or event or to participate in an entertainment production.
There are two subcategories under the P-1 visa: P-1A for athletes and P-1B for entertainers or members of entertainment groups.
P-1A Visa (Athletes)
To qualify for a P-1A visa as an athlete, the following criteria must be met:
Internationally Recognized: The athlete must be part of an internationally recognized team or have achieved significant recognition individually in the sport.
Competition Level: The athlete's competition must require an internationally recognized level of performance.
Athletic Achievements: The athlete must provide evidence of a substantial and sustained record of achievements in the sport, which can include awards, titles, rankings, and other forms of recognition.
Contract or Team Offer: The athlete must have a valid contract with a U.S.-based team, a major U.S. sports league, or a bona fide international sports competition.
Qualifications for P-1A Visa
To establish the qualification for P-1A Visa, an athlete must meet at least two of the following:
- Significant participation in a prior U.S. major league season
- Participation in international competition with a national team
- Significant participation in a prior U.S. college / university season in intercollegiate competition
- Written statement from a major U.S. sports league or official of the sport's governing body detailing the foreign national's or team's international recognition
- Written statement from the sports media or a recognized expert respecting international recognition
- International ranking
- Significant honors/awards in the sport
P-1B Visa (Entertainers/Entertainment Groups)
To qualify for a P-1B visa as an entertainer or a member of an entertainment group, the following criteria must be met:
Internationally Recognized: The entertainer or entertainment group must be internationally recognized, with a high level of achievement and reputation in the field.
Sustained Performance: The entertainer or entertainment group must have a sustained and substantial relationship with the group (at least one year) and have achieved a high level of skill and recognition.
Evidence of Recognition: The applicant must provide evidence of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes in the entertainment industry, such as awards, reviews, ratings, or other forms of recognition.
Contract or Engagement Offer: The applicant must have a valid contract or a formal offer to participate in a specific entertainment event, production, or engagement in the United States.
Support Personnel: Essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance and have critical skills and experience may also qualify for the P-1 visa.
Qualifications for P-1B Visa
To establish the qualification for P-1B Entertainers, a group must show:
- A group's nomination for or receipt of significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field, or by evidence that the group has achieved three of the following:
- Has and will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in productions/events with distinguished reputations
- International recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievements
- Has and will perform services as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments with a distinguished reputation
- Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes
- Significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts
- Has commanded or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration comparable to others similarly situated
It's important to note that the P-1 visa requires a U.S. employer or sponsoring organization to file a petition on behalf of the athlete or entertainer. The petition must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the visa application can be submitted.
The P-1 visa provides temporary employment authorization in the United States for the duration of the specific event, competition, or engagement. It allows athletes and entertainers to showcase their talents and contribute to the cultural and athletic landscape in the U.S.
Navigating the P-1 visa process can be complex, as it requires meeting specific eligibility criteria and providing thorough documentation. The Immigration Law Firm of Marcin Muszynski, Esq. can assist you in preparing a strong and compelling petition.