NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

P-1 Athletes and Group Entertainers

Overview

P-1 visa classification is available to foreign nationals who wish to come to the U.S. temporarily to: 1) perform as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance; or 2) perform as a member of a foreign-based entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. Please note: solo musicians or singers are not eligible for P visas; they must apply for O-1 visas.

Requirements

P-1 athlete classification requires that the foreign athlete or team be internationally recognized, and be coming to the U.S. to compete in athletic competitions which have distinguished reputations and which require participation by athletes or teams with international reputations. P-1 entertainment group classification requires that the foreign group have enjoyed international recognition for sustained and substantial period of time, and that 75% of the group members have had sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least one year. In addition, an advisory statement from a U.S. peer group or labor organization in the respective area of international renown, confirming that such organization does not object to the P-1 classification.

Application Procedures

This classification does require an approved petition for employment. Prior to the foreign athlete or group entertainer applying for a P-1 visa, the U.S. employer or agent must obtain petition approval from the USCIS. If the foreign athlete or group entertainer is outside of the U.S., he or she must apply directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. (Please note: in some cases, the applicant must apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country. See the Visa Issuance section for more details.) If the foreign athlete or group entertainer is inside the U.S. and wishes to change to or extend his, her or their P-1 Non-immigrant visa status, a petition and request to extend the P-1 status must be made to the USCIS in connection with the underlying petition for employment.

Time Limits

Individual athletes may be initially admitted to the U.S. or granted a change of status to P-1 visa classification for up to five years with the option to extend for a total of ten years by filing a timely petition for extension of stay with the USCIS. Athletic groups and entertainment groups may be initially admitted to the U.S. in P-1 visa classification for increments of 1 year at a time. As is the case with all Non-immigrant visa classifications, the duration for which one is allowed to remain in the U.S. in P-1 status is governed by the expiration date indicated on the most recently issued I-94 card, except in cases where a non-frivolous extension of stay request has been timely filed. (See How do I know if I am lawfully present in the U.S.? in the FAQ section for more details.)

Employment

P-1 Non-immigrant status is an employer or agent-specific work authorized status pursuant to the terms and conditions of the approved petition on which P-1 status was granted.

A foreign national on this visa may be eligible to apply for permanent residency based on extraordinary ability. Please click here for information on employment immigration.

Dual Intent

An P-1 Non-immigrant visa holder may simultaneously pursue permanent residency without negatively impacting his or her continued eligibility for P-1 Non-immigrant visa status. Accordingly, the filing of a labor certification application, I-140 immigrant visa petition or I-485 adjustment of status application is not a basis for denying a change of status to, extension of stay in, or visa for P-1 status. This protective concept is known as the "dual intent doctrine" and is recognized under immigration laws for several Non-immigrant visa classifications, including P-1.

Dependents

The spouse and minor children of P-1 visa holders may apply for derivative P-4 visa classification in order to accompany or follow to join the principal visa holder (at the consulate) or to remain in the U.S. with the principal visa holder (through a change of status application with the US CIS). P-4 status is conditioned on maintenance of valid P-1 status by the principal visa holder and dependent eligibility, and does not confer employment authorization.

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