A P visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to athletes, artists, entertainers, and entertainment groups who are coming to the United States temporarily to perform in their field.
What are the Different P Visa Classifications?
The P-1 visa is issued to an individual athlete or a team of athletes and members of an entertainment group who are recognized internationally. There is a cap on the number of these visas issued each year, which is currently set at 25,000 visas. P-1 visa holders include soccer team, tennis players, hockey players, music bands, performers, circus groups, and trainers.
The P-2 visa is issued to an artist or entertainer, operating as individuals or as a group, performing under a reciprocal exchange program. The reciprocal exchange program must be between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country. You will need to have comparable skills to U.S. artists and entertainers who take part in the program outside of the U.S.
The P-3 visa is issued to an artist or entertainer performing under a culturally unique program. These visas are normally issued to entertainers and artists who have been internationally recognized for excellence in development, interpretation, representation, teaching, coaching, and traditional artistic performance or presentation. You will need to be coming to the U.S. to participate in a cultural event that furthers the development or understanding of your art. The cultural event can be for commercial or non-commercial purposes. A P-3 visa may be issued to someone who is self-employed.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for a P Visa?
The requirements for eligibility for a P visa include the following:
- Be an internationally recognized performer or group
- Be coming to the U.S. for a specific event related to your art form
- Have a U.S. employer or agent sponsoring the event and entire U.S. itinerary
For athletes, there are additional eligibility requirements. You will need to provide proof of at least two of the following:
- Participation in a major U.S. sports league
- Participation with a national team in an international event
- Participation in a U.S. college competition
- A written document from a U.S. sports league media official or expert justifying your athletic recognition
- Evidence on the international rank of you or your team
- Significant awards and accolades in the sport
For an entertainer or entertainment group, there are also additional requirements. For example, three quarters of the group members must have been performing regularly for at least one year. In addition, proof of at least three of the following must be submitted:
- The group will be a star attraction at a U.S. event
- The event to be performed in is of significant repute
- Box office receipts or ratings that show the group’s success
- Proof that the group commands a high salary
- A written document from a media official justifying the group’s recognition
- Significant awards and accolades in the specified area of entertainment
What is the Length of Stay Allowed on a P Visa?
The P visa is normally granted for the length of time that is required to complete the particular event listed on your visa application. The maximum length of stay on a P visa is one year, with the exception that an athlete holding a P-1 visa may be allowed to stay up to five years with a possible extension of five additional years. Extensions are sometimes granted to a team or group for one year, as well.
Can Your Spouse and Children Accompany You to the U.S.?
It is possible for your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to come with you to the U.S. while you are on your P visa status. They will need to apply for a P-4 visa. While on a P-4 visa, your dependents are not eligible to work in the U.S. but can attend school. Their P-4 visa status will terminate when your P visa status ends.
Can Your Assistants or Other Personnel Accompany You to the U.S.?
It is possible for essential supporting personnel to be allowed to accompany you the U.S. while you are on your P visa status. They must prove that they are integral to your performance and that they will be performing support services that are not easily performed by a U.S. worker. Examples of support personnel include coaches, trainers, officials, referees, scouts, technicians, technical operators, stagehands, and office personnel.
Common Problems with a P Visa Petition
You have the burden of proof to show that your achievements and position qualifies for a P visa. It can sometimes be difficult to prove that you have the required international recognition. Many times, USCIS will respond to your petition with a Request for Evidence, requiring you to explain parts of your petition in more detail or provide additional documentation. These requests must be adequately responded to in a timely manner or your petition will be denied.
In addition, you must meet certain health related and criminal and security related grounds in order to qualify for a P visa. For example, you must provide documentation of vaccinations and must not have a communicable disease. Also, you cannot possess multiple criminal convictions, have been found guilty of money laundering or trafficking substances, or have any connections to terrorist activities. You will also need to possess the required clearance from any labor organizations overseeing your art form.
How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help Your P Visa Case
If you are filing a P visa petition, we can help. You may even be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, which would allow you to travel to the U.S. without obtaining a visa. At the Law Offices of Joshua Goldstein, our immigration lawyers are highly experienced and have successfully prepared and obtained approval for numerous P visa petitions. We will guide you through this complex immigration process and help find and resolve any issues that may only be apparent to an experienced immigration lawyer.
Call us today at (617) 722-0005. Schedule a consultation to learn more about the P visa and how our immigration lawyers can help you.