P-1 Visa for Athletes and Group Entertainers

As an immigration law firm, we’ve had our fair share of experience with entertainers who needed help to visit the United States, from Canadian golfers to singers from Europe.

A P-1A visa is for a person who is coming temporarily to the United States 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.  P-1B visa is for a person who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform with, or as an integral and essential part of the performance of, an entertainment group that has been “recognized internationally” as being outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time, and who has had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group (ordinarily for at least 1 year) and provides functions integral to the performance of the group.  “Internationally recognized” means “a high level of achievement … evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent such achievement is renowned, leading or well-known in more than one country.

P-1A athletes need to submit documentation showing: (1) the athlete or team is internationally recognized; (2) the athletic competition has a distinguished reputation; and (3) the competition requires the participation of an athlete or team with an international reputation.

The petition may be filed by a U.S. employer, sponsor, agent, or foreign employer through a U.S. agent.  The agent must be “in the business” as an agent.  A sponsor is “an established organization in the U.S. which will not directly employ a P visa applicant but will assume responsibility for the accuracy of the terms and conditions specified in the petition.”  In the case of a professional P-1 athlete who is traded from one organization to another organization, employment authorization for the player will automatically continue for a period of 30 days after acquisition by the new organization, within which time the new organization is expected to file a new petition for P-1 classification. If a new petition is filed within 30 days, the professional athlete shall be deemed to have a valid P-1 status, and employment shall continue to be authorized until the petition is adjudicated.

P-1 athletes may be admitted for up to 5 years with an extension of up to 5 years.   P-1 athletic team or entertainment group admission may not exceed one year.

If you need help with your P visa petition or help to determine if you qualify for a P-1 visa, call our Scottsdale, AZ office at 480-425-2009 and schedule a consultation today!