The P visa is a temporary work visa available to established entertainment groups, individual athletes, athletic teams, artists (groups or individual), teachers and coaches. As opposed to the O-1 visa, a P visa candidate need not meet the “extraordinary ability” requirement to qualify for the P visa.
The P visa is divided into the following categories:
For each category, visas are available for essential support personnel who are highly skilled and serve as an “integral part” of the performance of the principal P candidate.
In order for a foreign national to obtain P status, the individual must be sponsored by a U.S. employer, agent, or sponsoring organization, which is required to file a petition with USCIS. The petition must include an advisory opinion from the appropriate labor union or peer group. With the exception of P-1A athletes, P status will be granted for the amount of time sufficient for the candidate to complete the scheduled event, competition or performance, not to exceed one year. Extensions may be authorized in increments of up to one year. P-1A athletes are eligible for an initial period of stay of up to five years and a total period of stay of up to ten years (in order to complete the scheduled event, competition or performance).
Requirements for the P-1A Classification for Athletes
To qualify for P-1A classification as an athlete, the candidate must have a contract with a major U.S. sports league or team, or a contract with an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in that sport (if such contracts are normally executed in the sport). Additionally, the candidate must have at least two of the following:
Requirements for the P-1B Classification for Entertainment Groups
In order to qualify for P-1B classification as an entertainment group, the group must have been performing regularly for at least one year. As long as 75% of the members have been established in the group for a year or more, the “one year” requirement is satisfied. Further, the “one year” requirement does not apply to circus groups coming to work with nationally recognized circuses.
The entertainment group must also be internationally recognized in its discipline for a sustained and significant period of time. International recognition may be proven by evidence of significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field. In the alternative, an entertainment group may provide evidence that the group has achieved three of the following:
Requirements for P-2 Classification for Artists and Entertainers
In order to be eligible for P-2 classification, the candidate must be part of a government-recognized reciprocal exchange program between one or more U.S. organizations and one or more foreign organizations. The P-2 candidate must possess skills comparable to those of the U.S. artists and entertainers taking part in the program abroad and the terms of employment must be similar. In addition, the appropriate U.S. labor organization must have been involved in the negotiation or approval of the exchange.
Requirements for P-3 Classification for Culturally Unique Artists and Entertainers
The P-3 category is intended for culturally unique artists and entertainers, individually or as a group. The P-3 candidate must be coming to the U.S. for cultural events to further the understanding or development of his or her art form and be sponsored primarily by educational, cultural, or governmental organizations which promote such international cultural activities and exchanges.