P visas are granted to foreign nationals coming to the U.S. temporarily to work as an athlete, entertainer, or artist. Please read on for specific criteria for each category: P-1, P-2, and P-3.
The P-1 classification applies to a person coming to the U.S. temporarily 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.
The P-2 classification applies to a person coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country.
The P-3 classification applies to persons coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.
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- Ask The Expert: U.S. Immigration 101 for Action Sports Athletes And Their Sponsors
- P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete (USCIS)
- P-1B A Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group (USCIS)
- USCIS Memo Clarifying the Definition of “Internationally Recognized” (12-31-11)
- P-2 Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perfom Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program (USCIS)
- USCIS Issues Precedent Appeals on P-3 Nonimmigrant Visa Petitions (5-15-12)
- P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program (USCIS)
- Requirements for Agents and Sponsors Filing as Petitioners for O and P Visa Classification – USCIS (11-20-09)
- USCIS Clarifies Requirements for Agents Filing as Petitioners for the O and P Visa Classification (10-07-09)
- Fact Sheet regarding USCIS Memo (10-07-09)
- Regulations: Petitioning Requirements for the O and P Nonimmigrant Classifications (4-16-07)
- USCIS Draft Memo on Agents Who Serve as O or P Petitioners
P-1 Athlete Petition Document Requirements
A U.S. employer should file the I-129 petition with:
- A written advisory opinion from an appropriate labor organization:
- A copy of the contract with a major U.S. sports league or team or a contract in an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in the sport, if such contracts are normally utilized in the sport;
- Copies of evidence of at least two of the following:
- Significant participation in a prior season with a major United States sports league;
- Participation in international competition with a national team;
- Significant participation in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
- A written statement from an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the person or team is internationally recognized;
- A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the person or team is internationally recognized;
- The individual or team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings; or
- The person or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.
The P-1 classification also applies to a person coming temporarily to perform as a member of a foreign-based entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. This person also must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group (ordinarily for at least one year) and/or provide functions integral to the group’s performance.
Petition Document Requirements
- A written advisory opinion from an appropriate labor organization;
- A statement that the group has been established and performing regularly for at least one year;
- Evidence the group is internationally recognized as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time as demonstrated by evidence of the group’s receipt of, or nomination for, significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field, orevidence of at least 3 of the following:
- The group has performed and will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in production or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
- The group has achieved international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in its field as evidenced by reviews in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines or other published material;
- The group has performed and will perform services as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
- The group has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as evidenced by indicators such as ratings, box office receipts, record, cassette or video sales, and other achievements as reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications;
- The person has received significant recognition for achievements from critics, organizations, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the person is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the person’s achievements; or
- The group has commanded and will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services comparable to others similarly situated in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
P-2 Petition Document Requirements
The I-129 petition must be filed by the sponsoring organization, an employer in the U.S., or the U.S. labor organization that negotiated the agreement. The petition must be filed with:
- A written consultation by an appropriate labor organization;
- A copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the U.S. organization(s) sponsoring the person and the organization(s) in a foreign country which will receive the U.S. artist or entertainer;
- A statement from the sponsoring organization describing the reciprocal exchange of U.S. artists or entertainers as it relates to the specific petition for which classification is sought;
- Evidence the person and the U.S. artist or entertainer subject to the reciprocal exchange agreement are artists with comparable skills and that the terms and conditions of employment are similar.
- Evidence that an appropriate labor organization in the U.S. was involved in negotiating, or has concurred with, the reciprocal exchange of U.S. and foreign artists or entertainers.
P-3 Petition Document Requirements
The petition should be filed by the sponsoring organization or employer in the U.S. with:
- A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization;
- Affidavits, testimonials or letters from recognized experts attesting to the authenticity of the person’s or group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching or teaching the unique and traditional art forms and giving the credentials of the expert including the basis of his or her knowledge of the person’s or group’s skills.
- Documentation that all of the performances or presentations will be culturally unique events, and;
- Documentation that the performance of the person or group is culturally unique as evidenced by reviews in newspapers, journals or other published materials.
Accompanying Support Personnel
This category applies to accompanying support personnel who are highly skilled persons coming temporarily as an essential and integral part of the competition or performance of a P-1, P-2, or P-3. Essential support personnel must perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance or services of the athlete or entertainer.
Petition Document Requirements
The petition must be filed in conjunction with the petition for a P-2 immigrant by a U.S. employer and must be filed with:
- A written consultation with a labor organization in the skill in which the person will be involved;
- A statement describing the person’s prior and current essentiality, critical skills and experience with the principal applicant;
- A copy of any written contract between the employer and the employee or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the worker will be employed.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening an 8 attorney firm specializing in immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl as featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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