Athletes and Entertainers– P-1 Visas

Athletes and performers who meet the qualifications can obtain a P-1 nonimmigrant visa that can be valid for up to five years in certain circumstances. Most visas issued in this category are more limited in duration, but provisions allow for family and support personnel of the athletes and entertainers to obtain visas as well.

Demonstrating that you meet the qualifications for a P-1 visa can be challenging. The experienced legal team at Luis F. Hess PLLC understands complex visa requirements and they can help you prove your eligibility and avoid mistakes that could cause delays or denial of your application.

Overview of P-1 Visa

P-1 visas are divided into two types. Athletes applying either individually or as part of a team fall into category P-1A while entertainment performers fit into category P-1B. Employers or sponsors usually must file a Form 1-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to apply for this type of visa.

Even though these visas are temporary, nonimmigrant visas, they are still highly desirable and athletes and entertainers need to demonstrate significant accomplishment in their fields to qualify. In most cases, visas for performers, athletes, and their support personnel are granted only for the length of time necessary to compete in a particular event or tour of performances, and for no more than one year. For individual athletes who meet the requirements, they and their essential support staff may be approved for a stay of up to five years.

Spouses and unmarried minor children of P-1B visa holders may be eligible for P-4 visas that allow them to attend school or college, but not to obtain employment.

P-1 Athletes

The U.S. government allows athletes to qualify for a P-1A visa in one of five ways:

  • As an individual athlete with international recognition coming to compete in a specific competition
  • As part of an athletic team that is internationally recognized in the sport and that is competing in a distinguished competition
  • As a professional athlete employed by a professional team with at least $10 million in revenue or a minor league team affiliated with such a professional team
  • As a amateur athlete or coach with a U.S. team that competes in an international league
  • As a theatrical ice skater performing in a production or tour

As part of the application, you need to submit evidence to show that you and your group have achieved the requisite recognition and provide details about the competitions such as dates and itineraries.

P-1B Members of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group

Unlike athletes, entertainers must be part of a group to qualify for a P-1 visa. Moreover, the group must be “internationally recognized” with a “high level of achievement.” The group must be established, and at least 75% of the ensemble must have had a “substantial” relationship with the group for at least a year, except in the case of circus performers. 

Certain groups with only national (rather than international) renown may be permitted in special circumstances. A visa lawyer could help prepare descriptions, obtain endorsements, and present documentation to demonstrate that an entertainment group qualifies for P-1B visas for its members.

Learn How a Woodlands Visa Lawyer Could Help You Receive a P-1 Visa

Immigration laws and visa requirements seem to change with increasing frequency, and processing backlogs are often notorious. To make the process of obtaining a visa as efficient as possible, it is helpful to work with an experienced visa attorney. Talk to a knowledgeable Woodlands immigration lawyer at Luis F. Hess PLLC to find out more about how we could assist in the process.