Internationally recognized athletes and performers may be eligible to apply for a P visa. Athletes can apply for a P1-A visa, which grants permission to enter the United States temporarily for the purposes of performing at specific athletic competitions and competing at an internationally recognized level of performance. Performers can apply for a P1-B visa if coming as a member of an internationally recognized entertainment group. The best way to ensure approval is to seek the aid of an immigration attorney in the filing of the appropriate paperwork.
Requirements for Athletes:
l If applying as an individual, you must be internationally recognized for your athletic skill
l You must be coming to the U.S. to participate in an event or competition that requires an internationally recognized athlete
l If applying as part of a group, your group must be internationally recognized for its athletic skill
l The group must be coming to the U.S. to participate in an event or competition with a distinguished reputation and requiring an internationally recognized athletic group
l You, individually, cannot perform separately from the team
Requirements for Entertainers:
l At least 75% of the members of the group must have a significant and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year
l The group must be internationally recognized
l The group's reputation is essential
How to apply
Applying for either the P1-A or P1-B visa is best done with the assistance of an immigration lawyer. You will need to submit a filing fee of $460 along with a completed Form I-129 and the related supplements. You will also need to submit evidence in supporting documentation that indicates why you should be approved. You will also submit a consultation from an appropriate labor organization describing the work you will be doing in the United States and how your qualifications match that work.
If your Form I-129 is approved, you can then go to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for the P1-A or P1-B visa. If approved, your P visa is valid for one year and can be extended after that, if necessary.
Other P visas
Other classifications of P visas exist, such as the P-3 visa for coaches or teachers. It is recommended for you to seek out consultation from an immigration lawyer to determine the appropriate visa for you.
Applying for a P visa to come to the U.S. as an athlete or entertainer is not a quick or easy process. A single mistake on your paperwork could lead to a denial. It is for that reason that you should understand the importance of engaging the services of a qualified immigration attorney to help you properly fill out the paperwork, submit all the appropriate documents, and to ensure that everything is followed up on in a timely manner. A good immigration lawyer can walk you through the steps and prepare a solid application for you that will be convenient for the officer to review and approve as quickly as possible.