P-1A and P-1B Visas

The P-1 visa is an avenue by which athletes and entertainers of international acclaim can enter the U.S. for a temporary period and for the purpose of performing or competing in a specific venue/context. The purpose of the entry can be for either an individual, team or group competition or performance. P visa applicants establish eligibility by documenting their plan to compete or perform in an event, tournament or competition and that their accomplishments as an athlete or performer are significantly above ordinary athletes/performers and are well known in multiple countries.

Applying for P1 Visa

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P-1A Athlete Participant on Team

If participating as part of a team, the athlete must establish that his/her athletic achievements have received international acclaim and that the purpose of the trip to the U.S. is an event of international renown with teams similarly internationally acclaimed.

The process to facilitate issuance of a P-1A visa starts with an I-129 petition with filing fee and the requisite supporting documentation.

A party acting as agent on behalf of more than one petitioning organization must document its authorization to act in such a capacity. Further, the U.S. petitioning organization is required to file a consultation from a relevant labor organization in support of their submission, wherein a detailed description of the nature of the work or services to be presented is included.

In addition to the labor organization consultation, the following additional documents must be submitted in supported in support of a P-1 petition:

  • Contractual agreement with a major sports league or similarly acclaimed organization, assuming contracts are typically used in the sport at issue, along with all time/place details regarding the event, tournament or competition,
  • At least two of the following supporting evidence:
    • Proof of the petitioned athlete’s previous meaningful participation with a major American athletic league or organization
    • Documentation confirming the petitioned athlete’s meaningful participation in an international competition with a national team,
    • Proof of having meaningfully competed as part of national collegiate competitions
    • Testimonial provided by a major American sports league or governing organization confirming in detail how the petitioned athlete or team is internationally acclaimed or recognized
    • Testimonial of a sports journalist, broadcaster or other established expert in the sport at issue confirming the petitioned athlete/team is known internationally,
    • Proof of the athlete or teams ranking in relation to their international competition, assuming international rankings relate to the sport at issue
    • Proof that the petitioned athlete/team’s was presented with a significant accolade or award in the sport at issue

Family members

A P-4 visa is available for the spouse and unmarried children, younger than 21, to accompany their principal P-1A visa family member.

Essential Support Workers

A variety of workers who provide essential support to the petitioned athlete/team are eligible to be petitioned and obtain a P visa as well. More specifically, workers such as scouts, coaches, trainers, etc., and others who provide the type of support that cannot be practically provided by U.S. workers are able to accompany the petitioned athlete/team on their own P visa.

P-1B Visas for Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group members

A P-1B visa is available to an individual seeking to enter the U.S. to perform as part of an entertainment group of international acclaim and considered “outstanding” for a consistent, significant period of time.

To qualify, the group’s composition must be such that at least 3/4th’s of the members have maintained substantial and continuous connection to the group for no less than one year

Further, the group must have attained international acclaim and achieved a level of prominence in the field at issue significantly higher than their peers.

Application Process and Criteria –

The paperwork (I-129), substantive requirements and terms for a P-1B visa are nearly identical to those relating to the P-1A visa process, although the measuring standard relates to the previous achievements and acclaim of the group and not the individual members. https://www.uscis.gov/i-129