The government of the United States in a bid to promote and appreciate diverse cultures, sports, and performances has established a specific U.S non-immigrant visa. This is a way of encouraging them to come to the U.S. as long as they are capable of getting a U.S sponsor to make sure of the dates of their visit and performances.
What is the meaning of P1 Visa?
Individual athletes or a team of athletes who desires to engage in different athletic programs in the U.S are issued a P1 visa to enable them to promote themselves or their team and sport. This is also obtainable for entertainers, irrespective of if they are individuals or in a group to engage in different entertainment programs, competitions, or other activities.
As we have earlier stated, there are two groups of people the P1 visa was tailor-made for, therefore, the P1 visa is divided into two visas:
- P1A visa is tailor-made for athletes or athletic team that are recognized internationally.
- P1B visa is tailor-made for individuals or members of an entertainment group that is recognized internationally.
Well, the two visas have common rules which state that a team of athletes or group of entertainers applying must have from two members and above. In addition to this, this group must have been in operation for at least a year, and about ¾ members of the team must have been in the team for at least a year too.
Furthermore, all individuals and groups, and entertainers must be recognized internationally. Also, every important staff members or personnel that is needed during the performance are eligible to obtain a P1 visa.
What are the eligibility requirements for the P1 visa?
If you are an athlete applying for a P1A visa, you must meet at least two of the requirements listed below:
- You must have engaged in a major U.S sports league as an athlete
- You must have engaged in a in a United S college, university, or intercollegiate sports league
- You must have engaged in a competition or event both at national and international level
- You must have been rated high both nationally and internationally
- You must have earned a national or international award as a result of their excellence
The conditions below must be fulfilled for the P1B visa or internationally recognized entertainment group:
- They must have recorded tremendous success in ratings, records, videos sales, or box offices sales
- They must have recorded achievements mentioned in trade journals or major newspapers
- They must have at some point been recognised by critics, government agencies, or other field experts who can attest to the achievements of the individual or group.
- They must have earned high remuneration and good compensation as a result of the activities they do
How can one apply for the P1 Visa?
Whether you are applying for a visa as an athlete or as an entertainer, the application process follows similar patterns. Either way, they cannot commence the application on their own, they must be sponsored by an employer or organization in the United States for them to perform or compete. This brings us to our first step, which is for an employer or sponsor in the United States to petition the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and get approval.
Filing the petition
In addition to the first step, the aforementioned authority must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS to obtain permission for the athletes or the entertainers to apply for the P1 visa and this must be done 6 months prior to the scheduled performance. They can file a group petition instead of individual petitions for each member if the U.S employer is petitioning for a team of athletes or entertainers.
Aside from the aforementioned requirements, these documents listed below must be filed for the P1A visa or the athletic visa:
- Document showing proof of consultation with a labor organization
- Documents showing a list of events or performances alongside dates and durations for each event
- Documents showing contracts with U.S sports leagues or teams
- Documents that will serve as an evidence of eligibility that the individual or team is recognized nationally or internationally
The below documents must be filed for the P1B visa:
- Documents showing consultation with the right labor organization
- Documents showing contracts of the group alongside their sponsors or oral agreement summaries
- Documents showing list of events and performances alongside dates and durations of each event
- Documents showing evidence of the group’s age above 1 year since establishment) including each person’s membership or employment in the group
- Documents showing proof that the individual or group of entertainers is qualified for the visa and has been recognized in the national or international space
Complete Form DS-160
This is a form for nonimmigrant visa applicants which contains questions pertaining to your personal information, background, and also the reason for your visit to the United States. Upon submission, you are expected to receive a confirmation page and code that is required for your document file.
Pay the application fee
Irrespective of the P visa type, the application fee is $190. You will have to pay if you desire to go on with the rest of the application steps. Aside from the application fee, there are other fees that may be required known as visa issuance fees but this is based on the country, and the amount varies according to the country. Save and attach the receipts to the documents file after you have paid the fees.
Schedule your visa interview
As long as you are between 14 and 79 years old as an applicant for the United States nonimmigrant visas, you must be interviewed at the U.S Embassy. We advise that you schedule your interview early enough due to their high workload. You will receive an interview confirmation letter after scheduling your visa interview, and you will have to bring it along with you on the interview day.
Attend the interview
It is the responsibility of the U.S Embassy official to conduct the interview and you must gather your documents and go on time. You will be asked background questions and your intentions for going to the United States, therefore, be sure to provide the appropriate information, because if they sense any inconsistency in your answers, that may cost you your visa.
How much time will the P1 Visa processing take?
3 to 6 months is the processing time for the P1 visa. Though you may see it as a long period of waiting, nevertheless, the U.S institutions offer the opportunity to pay for premium processing but that will be at an extra cost of $1,225 and you will be responded to within 15 days, if not, your money is reimbursed.
How Long will the P1 Visa remain valid?
Well, there are various conditions attached to an extension of a visa. This also depends on who is holding the P1 visa, for instance, for an individual athlete, you may be issued a visa for a maximum of 5 years.
Upon expiration, you alongside your employer can petition for a five years extension and upon expiration, you have to return to your home country.
While in the case of a team of athletes, the visa is initially issued for a maximum of 1 year and can be extended for an extra 1-year increment.
Coming to entertainers of entertainment groups, they are issued a visa for a maximum period of 1 year, and can only be extended for 1 year until they have completed the performance.
In addition to this, you are qualified to work for more than one employer, nevertheless, each employer must file a different petition entirely.
Is it possible to bring my dependents with a P1 visa?
If you have any of the P visas, whether P1, P2, or P3, you are qualified to bring your dependents with them to the United States which includes your spouse and children who are less than 21 years.
It is either they apply at the same time with you or after the principal P1, P2 or P3 visa holders have been issued their visa. In addition to this, please note that they are not permitted to work but can study and reside in the United States.
About the P2 visa
It is a visa meant for entertainers and artists going to the United States under a reciprocal exchange program which was established by an organization in the United States.
Moreover, they have similar application process to the P1 visa, except that the U.S employer or sponsor must present these documents for the petition:
- Must submit a copy of the agreement stating the reciprocal exchange program
- Must provide proof that a labor organization in the United States took part in the negotiation process for this program
- Must provide proof that the artists/entertainers being exchanged in the program have similar skills and employment conditions
About the P3 visa
This visa is meant for those developing, representing, explaining, or training individuals or groups in a common or special cultural display. Moreover, they have a similar application process to the P1 visa, except that the U.S employer or sponsor must present these documents for the petition:
- They must provide proof that the performance being taught or presented is culturally unique
- They must provide proof that the coach or performer has the necessary skill set for this event
In conclusion, we have explained all you need to know about all kinds of P visas. With the information you have at your disposal, you can apply for this visa if you fall under the required category.