An Overview of the P Visa Category

The P visa is available to internationally recognized athletes, performers, and artists who wish to travel to the United States to perform for a temporary period of time.

P visas are broken down into the following four categories:

P-1A – Internationally Recognized Athlete

The P-1A visa is available to foreign athletes wishing to enter the United States temporarily to perform at an athletic competition. The athlete may be competing either individually or as part of a team.

Athletes wishing to enter the United States on this visa must be internationally recognized and demonstrate a high level of achievement, which can be evidenced by “a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.”

Athletic teams wishing to come to the United States to participate in team events must also have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. Further, the event in which the team is participating must be “distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.”

Essential Support Personnel who are an integral part of the performance of the athlete or team, such as coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials and referees, are also eligible for P-1A status.

P-1B – Member of Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group

The P-1B classification applies to individuals temporarily coming to the United States to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding for a sustained period of time. At least 75% of group members must have had a relationship with the group for more than a year.

Essential support personnel, including front office personnel, camera operators, lighting technicians and stage personnel are also eligible for P-1B status.

P-2 – Performer or Group Performing under Reciprocal Exchange Program

The P-2 classification applies to individuals temporarily coming to the United States to perform as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country.

To be granted a P-2 visa, a labor union must be involved in establishing, or acknowledging, the validity of the exchange program between the U.S. and foreign country in which the applicant participates.

Essential support personnel, including stagehands, trainers, or those persons having critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed are also eligible for P-2 status.

P-3 – Artist or Entertainer Part of a Culturally Unique Program

To be eligible for a P-3 visa, an individual 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.” The individual must be also 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.

Support personnel, including coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials and referees are also eligible for P-3 status.

All recipients of P status are entitled to bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 as dependents. Dependents may not engage in employment, but may attend school or college.

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