A short-term U.S. work visa known as the P visa is available to outstanding athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies (including circuses) with a job offer from a U.S. employer.
P-1 visas are issued to entertainers, circus artists, and athletes who wish to work in the U.S. Outstanding athletes may apply for this visa in order to compete in the U.S., either as individuals or as members of an internationally recognized athletic team. Entertainment groups with an outstanding international reputation can be granted P-1 classification as a unit; however individual entertainers within these groups cannot apply for separate visas.
P-1 visas for individual athletes may be granted for an initial period of up to five years and further increments of up to five years, to complete the event, competition, or performance, with a limitation of total stay to ten years. For athletic groups and entertainment groups, the period of initial grant may be up to one year with further increments of up to one year each time, to complete the event, competition, or performance.
Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 nonimmigrant status. P-4 status does not authorize them to work in the United States, but they may attend school or college.
Requirements to be eligible for P-1 visa:
- Athletes or athletic teams that have been internationally recognized as outstanding for a long and continuous period of time.
- In case of entertainment companies, Entertainment companies that have been nationally recognized as outstanding for a long time.
- Each performer who wishes to qualify for a P-1 visa must have been an integral part of the group for at least one year, with certain exceptions.
Procedure for applying for P-1 visa:
- The petitioning employer must forward all necessary documents and evidence along with Form I-129 to the USCIS branch with jurisdiction over the area where it plans to perform.
- A U.S. agent may also file a petition for workers who are self-employed, use agents to book short-term engagements with many different employers or in situations where foreign employer(s) authorize the use of an agent to act on their behalf. This agent may be the employer of the performer, a representative of the employer or a person authorized to act on behalf of the employer.
- Upon obtaining approval, apply for visa.
Documents required for applying for a P-1 visa:
- Valid Passport: Applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of applying for P-1 visa.
- Form DS-160 Confirmation Page.
- Application fee payment receipt.
- Photographs and Biometrics – Applicant will be required upload photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Alternatively, few U.S. Embassies/ Consulates have arrangements to setup a separate appointment for biometrics and photographs requirement. Applicants are required to follow the procedures of respective consulate they intend to apply at pertaining to completion of photographs and biometric requirement.
- Documentary proof in support of recognition in the field. This may include awards, citations and certificates.
P-2 visas are available to artists or entertainers, either individually or as part of a group, who come to the U.S. to perform under a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and one or more other countries.
The P-3 classification applies to someone who are 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.
For a P-3 visa, one must be coming to the United States either individually or as a group for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. In addition, you must be coming to the United States to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of your art form. The program may be of a commercial or non-commercial nature.
The coverage of this category also extends to essential personnel who form an integral part of the performance of the individual artist or entertainer.
In addition, the employer will have to submit on the applicant’s behalf:
- statements from recognized experts showing the authenticity of the person or group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching, or teaching the unique or traditional art form and showing the basis of knowledge of the person or group’s skill, or
- evidence that the person or group’s art form is culturally unique, as shown by reviews in newspapers, journals, or other published materials, and that the performance will be culturally unique.
The sponsor must forward all necessary documents along with Form I-129 to the USCIS branch with jurisdiction over the area where you plan to perform. A U.S. agent may file a petition for workers who are self-employed, use agents to book short-term engagements with many different employers or in situations where foreign employer(s) authorize the use of an agent to act on their behalf. This agent may be the employer of the performer, a representative of the employer or a person authorized to act on behalf of the employer.
For the P-3 Visa, you must provide the following documents:
- A filled-in visa application Form DS-160. Separate applications for each person are compulsory.
- One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
- A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
The following are also required:
- Affidavits, testimonials or letters from recognized experts attesting to the applicant’s skills as well as the basis of the expert’s knowledge of the applicant’s skill;
- Documentation that the performance is culturally unique;
- Consultation from an organization with expertise in the individual’s or group’s skills;
- Copy of the written contract between the performer(s) and the employer
- An explanation of the event and itinerary
The duration for which the P-3 visa is issued is the time necessary to complete the specific competition, event, or performance. Initially P-3 aliens are issued visas of no more than 1 year Extensions may be sought to continue performance in the event or performance for a maximum period of 1 year applied for in increments.
FAMILY OF P-3 VISA HOLDERS
The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are permitted to accompany the P-3 to the United States, under a P-4 status. P-4 visa holders are not allowed to work, but may attend schools or colleges.