P visa for sports teams, entertainment groups

P visa | US Immigration Attorney | Artists Athletes Immigration

International artists, athletes, entertainers, and musicians all can benefit from either the O or P visa, depending on the circumstances.  The P visa is for those individuals (athletes or entertainers), sporting teams, or entertainment groups to enter the U.S. for a short, temporary time period to work in the US.

This visa category provides for six (6) types of visa.  This is both an advantage as disadvantage because the distinctions are not necessarily clear and easy to understand.  Working with an experienced immigration attorney, like Christine Swenson, is your best bet for success.

Here are the six types of P visas available to international artists, entertainers and athletes:

  1. P-1A visa:  This visa is for professional athletes and athletic teams for competition and where the athlete/team has an international or distinguished reputation.
  2. P-1B visa:  This type of P visa is for the internationally recognized entertainment group.  Individuals are not eligible for the P-1B visa.  An important requirement for this type of P visa is that at least 75% the group’s members must have a professional relationship for more than one year.  (In other words, newly formed groups will find it very difficult to be approved.)  Yet, this one year or more relationship does not apply to circus performers or personnel essential to the circus.
  3. P-1S visa: This visa type is for essential support personnel for those who are P-1 recipients. Like the O visa, the person who qualifies as essential support personnel must be a highly skilled, essential person who is an integral part of the performance where the services provided cannot be done by someone already in the US.  Some examples would include coaches, trainers, referees, lighting techs and camera operators.
  4. P-2 visa: For those artists or entertainers, whether as an individual or part of a group, who are coming to perform through a reciprocal exchange program, this type of visa may be most appropriate. The US and another country (or countries) must participate in the exchange. A convenient feature of this visa is that all essential personnel are included.
  5. P-3 visa: Perhaps the narrowest of the P visas, this is for foreign nationals who want to come to the US in order to teach or coach in a program that is culturally unique. Support personnel may also apply for the P-3 visa.  You may qualify for this visa whether you wish to come to the U.S. individually or part of a group but the employer must sponsor or hire you, the foreign national.
  6. P-4 visa:  Just like the similar O visa, this is for your immediate family: spouse and/or children (under 21 years old).  One benefit: they can go to school without having to apply for an F visa.  One downside: they cannot work.

If you want your time on the field, stage or rink, don’t wait until the last minute to start work on your P visa immigration process.   You’ve spent hundreds of hours practicing and perfecting your craft.  Why risk your future with procrastination, using doing-it-yourself style visa centers, or going it alone. Consult with Christine Swenson to discuss your options and develop your game plan.  Call us at 720.414.2027.

Swenson Law Office PC

5161 E Arapahoe Rd., Suite 120