P-1 (Athletes and Group Entertainers)

DESCRIPTION:

A P-1 visa is a temporary visa available to an individual who performs as an athlete, either individually or as part of a group or team that is “internationally recognized” (P-1A visa), OR to a person who performs with, or is an integral or essential part of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as being outstanding in the discipline for a consistent and substantial period of time (P-1B visa). The athlete must seek to enter the U.S. for the purpose of performing as an athlete with respect to an athletic competition. Similarly, the entertainer must seek to temporarily enter the U.S. for the purpose of performing as such a performer or entertainer or as an integral and essential part of a performance. In the case of the performer, s/he must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for a period of at least one year. Spouses and dependent children of P-1 visa holders may qualify for P-4 visas. A P-4 visa does not authorize employment in the United States. A P-4 visa does, however, permit a dependent to attend school or college in the United States.

As mentioned, there are two subcategories of the P-1 visa: First, the P-1A visa is available for individuals entering the United States to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, either individually or as part of a team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. Secondly, the P-1B visa is available for individuals entering the United States to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as “outstanding” in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. Unlike the P-1A visa, individual entertainers who are not performing as part of a group are not eligible for this visa classification.

For the individual athlete, the P-1A visa is initially granted for the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, but not to exceed 5 years. Extension of stay is granted in increments of up to 5 years, in order to continue to complete the event, competition or performance. The total stay for an individual athlete on a P-1A visa is limited to 10 years.

For an athletic group, the P-1A visa is initially granted for the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year. Extension of stay is granted in increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

For essential support personnel of an athletic group, the P-1A visa is initially granted for the time needed to complete the event, activity or performance, but many not exceed 1 year. Extensions are granted in increments of up to 5 years in order to continue to complete the event, competition or performance.

For a member of an entertainment group, the P-1B visa is initially granted for the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, but not to exceed 1 year. Extensions are granted in increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition, or performance.

REQUIREMENTS FOR P-1A:

To qualify for P-1A classification, athletes must demonstrate that the athlete or team is internationally recognized; that the athletic competition has a distinguished reputation; and that the competition requires participation of an athlete or team with international reputation.

The petition must include a tendered contract with a major U.S. sports league or team or one equal in international recognition; AND

Evidence of any two (2) of the following:

  1. Significant participation in a prior season in majors;
  2. International competition with a national team;
  3. Significant participation in a prior season for U.S. college or university or intercollegiate competition;
  4. Written statement from a U.S. official in sport about person or team’s international recognition;
  5. Written statement from an expert or sports media as to international recognition;
  6. Team or individual ranking;
  7. Significant honor or award in sport.

OR, alternatively, provide documentary evidence of a tendered contract and documentary evidence of performance as a professional athlete employed by either a professional sports team in association with 6 or more teams that have combined revenues over $10,000,000 or a minor league team affiliated with such an association.

PROCESSING:

The petitioner should file the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant worker with the USCIS. In addition to Form I-129 and evidentiary criteria listed above, the P-1 petition should also submit the following documentary evidence:

  1. Consultation in the form of a written advisory opinion from an appropriate union regarding the nature of the work to be done and the person’s qualification. The union may submit a specific opinion or a letter of no objection. There may be exceptions to this requirement.
  2. 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
  3. An explanation of the event and itinerary.

REQUIREMENTS FOR P-1B:

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 recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.

To be eligible for a P-1B visa, at least 75 percent of the members of the entertainment group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year.

The 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. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members or the acclaim of a particular production, is essential. Moreover, individual entertainers not performing as part of a group are not eligible for this visa classification.

The petition must include documentation showing that: (1) the group is internationally recognized for sustained and substantial period of time; (2) 75% of members of the group have had sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least one year.

The documents necessary thus include evidence showing that:

  1. Group has performed for at least one year;
  2. List of members and dates employed;
  3. Group has been nominated or has received significant international awards OR any of the three (3) following documentation regarding international recognition:
    1. Star or lead in performance that has distinguished reputation;
    2. Reviews in major publication;
    3. Star or lead in performance for organization that has distinguished reputation;
    4. Major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
    5. Testimonials regarding group’s significant recognition; or
    6. Group will command or has commanded high salary.

Note: Circuses do not have to meet the one-year group membership requirement or international recognition. They need only show that they have been recognized nationally as outstanding for a sustained period of time. Also, a director may waive international recognition for a group recognized nationally for a sustained period where there are special circumstances. Lastly, the one-year relationship may also be waived in emergency situations.

PROCESSING:

The petitioner should file the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant worker with the USCIS. In addition to Form I-129 and the evidentiary criteria listed above, the P-1 petition should also submit the following documentary evidence:

  1. Consultation in the form of a written advisory opinion from an appropriate union regarding the nature of the work to be done and the person’s qualification. The union may submit a specific opinion or a letter of no objection. There may be exceptions to this requirement.
  2. Itinerary with the dates and locations of the performances
  3. Copy of contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or summary of terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed

 

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