P Visa: Athletes and Entertainers
What a P visa and who Qualifies?
P visa is a nonimmigrant visa for athletes and entertainers. The three categories of this type of visa are P-1, P-2 and P-3.
P-1 is for athletes, athletic teams and entertainment companies. To qualify for P-1, the applicant must be internationally recognized as outstanding for a long and continuous period of time. Individual entertainers may not apply for a P-1 visa, only members of an entertainment group may do so. An individual entertainer may be approved for P-1 visa only if they are going to the U.S. to join a foreign-based entertainment group. Examples of qualified applicants include: tennis players, hockey team players, soccer team players, musicians in bands, circus groups, performers and trainers.
P-2 is specifically for artist or entertainer applicants who will be performing in the U.S. as part of a reciprocal exchange program between a foreign-based and U.S.-based organization. The “reciprocal exchange program” requirement means that the applicant must possess skills and be under terms of employment comparable to the U.S.-based performers/artists who will be part of the exchange.
P-3 is specifically for applicants who will be performing, teaching or coaching a culturally unique program in the arts or entertainment fields. “Culturally unique” means a style or artistic expression, medium or methodology which is unique to a country, nations, ethnicity or other group of people. A culturally unique program should promote the understanding or development of the applicant’s art form.
Evidence required for a strong P visa application includes but is not limited to:
- Contract between petitioner and beneficiary
- Reciprocal exchange agreement between U.S. organization and foreign organization
- Itinerary of events/activities including an explanation of the events and start/finish dates
- A consultation, which is a written advisory opinion from an organization in applicant’s field of work/expertise
- Affidavits, awards and publications attesting to applicant’s achievements/recognition
P visas are very similar to O visas in that some applicants may qualify under both categories. While the O visa is available to applicants in more industries, P visa allows people to apply as part of a group. For the purposes of P visa, the reputation of the group as a whole, rather than the individual beneficiary is considered. If the same group chose to apply for O visa, each member would have to demonstrate “extraordinary ability” or “extraordinary achievement” as defined by USCIS.
An immigration attorney will be able to determine which visa category would be best to apply for. Knowledge of what USCIS expects in a strong application is important since a properly documented application is key in avoiding delays. An experienced attorney will best be able to ensure that all evidence presented is sufficient and convincing.
To discuss P visa petitions and other types of employment based petitions with an experienced immigration attorney from the American Visa Law Group, feel free click the contact us tab and fill out the inquiry form or call us at 510-500-1155.