There is a great deal of overlap between the O and P visa categories. The following are the sub-categories into which the P visa is divided:
The P-1A visa category is for those who are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, either individually or as part of a group, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
On the other hand, the P-1B visa is for those coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that is recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
The P-2 visa covers foreign nationals coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and in a foreign country.
The P-3 visa is for foreign nationals coming here temporarily to perform, coach, or teach, either individually or otherwise, in the arts or entertainment fields in a culturally unique program.
Essential support personnel who possess the requisite skill-set, and are an integral part of the performance or competition, can accompany the principal foreign nationals in the P-1S, P-2S, or P-3S support categories.
To qualify as a P-1A athlete, either the individual athlete or the team must have an internationally recognized reputation in the sport. According to USCIS, the evidence to be submitted in this category must include:
- A written consultation 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
- An explanation of the event and itinerary
- Documentation of at least two of the following:
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season with a major United States sports league
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in international competition with a national team
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
- A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport which details how you or 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
- Evidence that you or your team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings
- Evidence that you or your team has received a significant honor or award in the sport
Duration of Stay
According to USCIS, athletes and other support personnel under the P classification are subject to the following limitations.
|Initial Period of Stay||Extension of Stay|
|Individual Athlete – Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 5 years||Individual Athlete –Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.Total stay is limited to 10 years.|
|Athletic Group – Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year||Athletic Group – Increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.|
|Essential Support Personnel – Time to complete the event, activity, or performance, may not exceed 1 year||Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.Total stay is limited to 10 years|
This category is only available to entertainers who are members of a group with an international reputation, and not for individual entertainers.
To qualify as a P-1B entertainer, at least 75 percent of the members of your group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year. The group must be internationally recognized, having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above the level that is typically the case.
According to USCIS, the evidence to be submitted in this category must include:
- Written consultation from an appropriate labor organization
- Itinerary with the dates and locations of the performances
- A copy of the contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or summary of terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed
- Evidence that your group has been established and performing regularly for at least one year
- Statement from the petitioner listing each member of the group and the exact dates for which each member has been employed on a regular basis by the group
- Evidence that your group is internationally recognized as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time as demonstrated by evidence of your group’s receipt of, or nomination for, significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field, or evidence of at least three of the following:
- Your 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
- Your 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
- Your 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
- o Your 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
- o Your group has received significant recognition for achievements from critics, organizations, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field
- o Your 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
Duration of Stay
Under this category, the maximum period of allowable stay is 1 year, with additional periods of up to 1 year to complete the event, competition or performance.