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Did you know that there is a temporary visa available for athletes and entertainers seeking to participate in events in the United States? The P-1 visa was designed to give foreigners the opportunity to legally enter the United States so that they can compete, complete programs, or engage in other types of programs in either athletics or performing arts. Read on to learn about the basics of the P-1 visa and see if this might be the right option for you!

Overview of the P-1 Visa

The P-1 visa is a nonimmigrant temporary visa that allows for individual athletes and entertainers to enter the United States for the purpose of participation in various types of events and to promote themselves and the team or group that they are a part of. There are two types of P-1 visas:

  • 1) P-1A; and
  • 2) P-1B.

The P-1A visa is for athletes, specifically internationally recognized athletes, or members of an internationally recognized athletic team. P-1A visa holders must be entering the United States with the intent of participating in events for their sport. P-1B visas are for entertainers, whether individuals or members of an internationally recognized group. Groups such as world tours of theatrical productions and Cirque du Soleil would qualify, and the entertainer must enter the United States for the purpose of performing, competing, or participating in other entertainment programs for their respective genre.

Applying as an Individual vs. as a Member of a Group

Although all P-1 visas are held by individuals, there are some specific requirements that apply to groups of performers or athletes as opposed to an individual who is trying to join a group in the U.S. To apply as a group of athletes or entertainers, the group must meet the following requirements:

  • It was formed at least one year prior to filing the petition;
  • It has at least two members; and
  • Three quarters of the group have been with the group for at least one year.

Personnel and staff members who are crucial to the functioning and performance of the athletes and entertainers in a group are also able to obtain a P-1 visa.

Eligibility for the P-1 Visa

The eligibility for P-1A and P-1B visas slightly differs because of the differences in the athletics and entertainment industries. Regardless, both visas still have the same core requirements for the visa holder:

  • Previous national or international recognition;
  • Can demonstrate a high level of accomplishment; and
  • If applying in a group, the visa holder is part of a prestigious group or team.

The way you demonstrate these forms of eligibility depends on the industry you are in. For example, for the performing arts and entertainment industry, you can demonstrate eligibility through media publications, record of box office sales, or positive reviews from esteemed critics. For athletics, you may demonstrate eligibility by showing you received an award in a national or international competition, your participation in a major collegiate or professional sports league, or obtaining a high international ranking.

How to Apply for a P-1 Visa

To apply for a P-1 Visa, you will need a sponsor who is a U.S. employer or organization where you intend to participate. Your sponsor will need to file the I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and you will need to provide supporting documentation to verify your identity and accomplishments. Additionally, you will need to file the Form DS-160, which is a standard form for nonimmigrant visa applicants. An immigration attorney can assist you and your employer to put together a strong P-1 Visa petition.

If you are interested in obtaining a P-1 Visa and would like to learn more about it, contact us for an in-depth assessment to discuss your eligibility.

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