What is P1 visa for USA?
The P1 visa is a temporary visa program for the USA that is specifically designed for foreign athletes, including professional or amateur athletes, and entertainers and their essential support personnel to come to the United States to compete or perform in various events.
The P1 visa category is limited to those individuals who are athletes, those who are members of entertainment groups and those individuals who perform essential support functions for the athletes or the entertainers. If certain athletes, entertainers or support personnel do not qualify for a P1 visa another option to consider is O1 visa.
The P1 visa for USA can be applied to Athletes in various athletic fields such as tennis, track, poker, chess, table tennis (ping-pong), boxing, cycling, rugby, soccer, chess, figure skating, electronic sports, equestrian sports and other sports, including more unusual sports.
The P1 visa can also apply to various Entertainers such as theater groups, music bands, circus groups, ballet groups and other dance groups, musicals and others.
In addition, P1 visa is available to critical personnel supporting an Athlete or Entertainer on P1 visa such as coaches, managers, parent-managers, massage therapists, trainers, umpires, scouts, broadcasters, referees, interpreters, camera operators, stage personnel, lighting technicians and other experts.
Moreover, a foreign individual with a P1 visa can bring his or her family to the United States (wife or husband and unmarried children under the age of 21) on a P-4 status, and the spouse and children are not authorized to work in USA. However, the spouse and children can study in US schools and universities full-time or part-time.
Depending on whether the application is for an Athlete or an Entertainer, there are two types of P1 visa available for the United States– the P-1A visa for Athletes and P-1B visa for Entertainers who are members of internationally recognized Entertainment Groups.
The essential support personnel of a P1 Athlete or Entertainer can come to the United States under a P-1S visa classification if the personnel perform functions for at least one P1 Athlete or Entertainer. For example, if you are a famous tennis player from the Netherlands who have won few tennis tournaments and have an approved P-1A visa to prepare for Miami Open then your coach who is your essential support personnel can join you in the United States on a P-1S visa status.
The initial period of stay for P1 visa and ability to renew or extend the P1 visa varies for Athletes and Entertainers.
Individual Athletes in P-1A visa classification and their essential personnel can get the visa for 5 years and renew it for another 5 years while Athletic Groups on a P-1A visa classification and Entertainers on a P-1B classification with their essential personnel can obtain the visa for 1 year and extend it yearly.
The initial period of stay for P1 visa for Individual Athletes and their support personnel can be approved for a maximum of 5 years and can be renewed for an additional 5 years for a total stay of 10 years.
For members of Athletic Groups and their support personnel, the P1 visa can be granted for up to 1 year and renewed every year for as long as needed to continue or to complete the event, competition or performance.
In other words, if you apply for a P1 visa as an Individual Athlete then you and your critical personnel can get a P1 visa for up to 5 years and renew it for another 5 years. But if you seek classification as an Athletic Group then you can obtain a P1 visa for one year and renew it indefinitely for as long as it is needed and you meet the conditions for the P1 visa.
In the case of P1 visa for an Entertainer who is a member of an Entertainment Group and his or her support personnel, the initial period of stay can be approved for a maximum of 1 year and can be renewed on a yearly basis in order to continue or complete the performance, event or competition.
Simply put, if you are an Entertainer who is a member of an Entertainment Group such as a music band or dance band or other group, then you can obtain a P1 visa for 1 year and renew it every year as long as you meet the requirements for a P1 visa.
P1 Visa for Athletes
The P1 visa for USA allows an internationally recognized athlete or professional or amateur athlete and his or her essential support personnel to come to the United States to prepare and perform at a specific athletic competition, event or performance.
The P1 Athlete visa is available to the following individuals or teams:
- An individual athlete who is an internationally recognized athlete
- An internationally recognized athletic team
- A professional athlete in a major league or association or in a minor league affiliated team
- An amateur athlete or coach, as part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association.
- A professional or amateur theatrical ice skater, individually or part of a group, performing in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour
Requirements for P1 visa for Athletes
While the requirements to apply for a P1 visa for Athlete vary depending on the applicant’s eligibility criteria above, all applications must meet the following requirements and meet additional requirements based on the eligibility criteria:
- A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization
- Written contracts or summaries of the terms of oral agreements describing the terms of the employment
- An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the start and end dates for the events or activities, and any itinerary for the events or activities
In addition to the three requirements above, there are additional requirements for an Athlete to qualify for a P1 visa which depend on whether the applicant is an internationally recognized individual athlete or team, a professional athlete, an amateur athlete or coach or a theatrical ice skater.
Additional requirements for internationally recognized individual Athletes or Athletic Teams
For a P1 visa petition, if you are an internationally recognized individual Athlete or Athletic Group, you must have a contract in place, where applicable, and meet at least 2 of the following requirements:
- Participation in a prior season with a major United States sports league
- Participation in an 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 you or the your team is internationally recognized
- A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how you or your team is internationally recognized
- If the sport has international rankings, the individual athlete or the team is ranked
- The athlete or team has received significant honor or award in the sport
Additional requirements for Professional Athletes
To qualify for a P1 visa as a Professional Athlete you must make sure you meet the following additional requirements:
- As a professional athlete you will work for a team located in the United States that is a member of an association of six or more professional sports teams.
- The total combined revenues of the association’s teams exceeds $10 million per year.
- The association governs the conduct of its members and regulates the contests and exhibitions in which its member teams regularly engage.
- If as a professional athlete you will work for a minor league team affiliated with an association that meets the requirements described in points 1 to 3 above, then the minor league team must have a qualifying affiliation with the major league or association
Additional requirements for Amateur Athletes or Coaches
To qualify for a P1 visa as an Amateur Athlete or Coach you must come to the United States to perform as an athlete or coach as part of a team or franchise located in the United States and the team or franchise must be a member of a foreign league or association.
Additional requirements for Theatrical Ice Skaters
To be eligible for a P1 visa, as a theatrical ice skater you must be performing individually or as part of a group in a theatrical ice-skating production.
P1 Visa for Entertainers and Performers, Members of Entertainment Groups
The P1 visa for USA allows an Entertainer who is member of an internationally recognized Entertainment Group and his or her essential support personnel to come to the United States to prepare and perform at a specific competition, event or performance.
The P1 visa however, is not available to Individual Entertainers who are not performing as part of a group.
Circus performers and essential circus personnel and other certain entertainment groups are not subject to the general requirements for P1 visa for Entertainers and are discussed separately below. All other members of Entertainment Groups must fulfill the general requirements for P1 visa for Entertainers. With the exception of circuses and few other groups, the P1 Entertainer visa is available if the Entertainer and the Entertainment Group meet the following requirements:
- The Entertainment Group has been in existence and performing on a regular basis for at least 1 year
- At least 75 percent of the members of the Entertainment Group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least 1 year
- The Entertainment Group, which the Entertainer is a member of, must be internationally recognized, having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country. The Entertainment Group must be able to show receipt of, or nomination for, significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field, or if the Group has not received or been nominated for international awards, then it must meet at least 3 of the following 6 criteria:
- 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 Entertainment 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 Group has received significant recognition for achievements from critics, organizations, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field
- 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
Circus Groups and National Entertainment Groups
In order to get the P1 Entertainer visa, circus performers, circus groups and circus essential personnel do not need to meet the 1-year group membership requirement and to be internationally recognized. For a P1 Entertainer visa for circus performers and personnel they must be coming to join a nationally recognized circus only and there are no additional requirements.
A discretionary waiver from the international recognition requirement may be granted to an entertainment group that has achieved national recognition for a sustained period of time.
How can Malescu Law assist?
Our experienced business and immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA can assist with understanding what is P1 visa, P1 visa case evaluation, planning and strategy, application and renewals. Contact us or book a consultation.
If you are an individual athlete, an athletic group or team or a performer working in the entertainment industry including circuses, contact us today to discuss US visa options suitable for your circumstances.
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