The P Visa Admits Athletes, Artists And Entertainers
The Immigration Act of 1990 added the “P” class of visa to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The “P Visa” is a non-immigrant, limited duration visa that allows persons with high-profile international careers in sports and the arts or entertainment to compete or perform in the US.
Persons who wish to apply for a P Visa must meet certain qualifications to establish their level of international acclaim and, if approved, are then able to apply for the appropriate P Visa.
Persons traveling to the US on a P Visa may bring certain family members and other specified support personnel. The duration of a P Visa coincides with the activity or event that the P Visa holder has come to the US to participate in.
There Are Different Types of “P Visas”
There are 4 types of P Visas:
P-1 Visa – P-1 Visas are for athletes or entertainment groups.
- P-1A – Internationally recognized athletes
- P-1B – Internationally recognized entertainment groups
P-2 Visa – P-2 Visas are for performers who will perform in the US pursuant to a reciprocal exchange agreement between a US organization and an organization in another country.
P-3 Visa – P-3 Visas admit artists and entertainers who come to the US to participate in events where they share their unique culture so others can better understand and appreciate it.
P-4 Visa – P-4 Visas allow the non-immigrant spouse and children under 21 of P Visa holders to accompany them for the duration of their stay.
Qualifications Necessary to Obtain A “P Visa”
The P Visas allow people who have internationally recognized talents or something considered valuable to share to come to the US and participate in events that showcase their abilities. The qualifications for obtaining a P Visa are about demonstrating international celebrity and providing the appropriate credentials. US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) lists the detailed eligibility requirements for each type of P-Visa on its website.
Privileges Granted With A “P Visa”
P-1, P-2, and P-3 Visa holders are able to:
- work for the sponsor of their visa until the event, show, performance is complete
- travel in and out of the US
- get extra time for vacation and to participate in promotional activities
- apply for permanent residency
- be accompanied by ‘essential support’ persons who receive the same visa status
- bring their spouse and children under 21 with P-4 Visas
- have spouses and children attend schools and colleges
Limitations Of A “P Visa”
- P Visas are intended to grant temporary residence in the US and those who obtain P Visas must demonstrate that they intend to leave the US when their performance or event has ended.
- Spouses and children are not allowed to work with a P-4 Visa and must apply for a separate work visa.
- A new P-Visa must be issued when a P-Visa holder changes employer, sponsor or agent.
- Initial periods of stay are no longer than 1 year except for P-1A individual athletes.
Length Of A “P Visa”
Most P-Visas, including those issued for support personnel, are issued for an initial period of up to 1 year or until the particular event, competition or performance is completed. Extensions of stay can be granted in increments of up to one year as necessary.
P-1A Visas for individual athletes are the only P-Visas that can be granted for an initial period of up to 5 years. They can be extended for one additional period of up to 5 years but the total stay is limited to 10 years.
Applying For A “P Visa”
To be an applicant for a P-Visa you must have a US employer, sponsor or agent. Your sponsor will file a Form I-529, Petition of Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf along with the appropriate fee and supporting documentation.
The documentation that must be provided with your application includes the following:
- report from a labor organization describing the work you will perform and your qualifications (unless there is no labor organization)
- employment contracts
- description and itinerary of the events you will be participating in
- additional documentation specific to the type of P-Visa you are applying for
If you need a P-Visa it’s best to get your application in as soon as possible. Processing times for a P-Visa can take between 3 to 6 months. Premium processing for an additional fee is supposed to get you an answer about your application within 15 days of submission – but that’s not guaranteed.
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