What are P visas?
P visas allow outstanding nonimmigrant foreign athletes, artists, and entertainers to temporarily work or compete in the United States. There are five different types of P visas, each specifically intended for individuals who are outstanding in one of the above professions or their family members. The five types of P visas are P-1A, P-1B, P-2, P-3, and P-4. Additionally, P-1S, P-2S, and P-3S visas are available for the highly skilled essential support personnel who assist P visa holders.
What are the different types of P visas and what makes each unique?
The P-1A visa is available for athletes temporarily coming to the United States solely for the purpose of performing at a specific athletic competition.
The P-1B visa is available for individuals coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group.
The P-2 visa is available for individuals coming to the United States to perform as an artist or entertainer individually or as part of a group.
The P-3 visa is available for individuals who are coming to the United States to perform, teach, or coach as artists or entertainers under a program that is culturally unique, individually or as part of a group.
The P-4 visa is available for a spouse or the unmarried children of a P visa holder.
The P-1S, P-2S, and P-3S visas are available for the essential support personnel for a P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa holder.
How to qualify for each type of P visa
There are few ways an athlete may qualify for a P-1A visa, including:
- Participation in a specific athletic competition in a sport in which the visa holder is internationally recognized, either as an individual athlete or as part of a team.
- Participation at a professional or amateur theatrical ice skating production or tour, either as an individual athlete or as part of a team.
- Employment as a professional athlete with a team that is a member of an association of six or more professional sports teams whose total combined revenues exceed $10 million per year, or a minor league team affiliated with such an association; or
- As an athlete or coach who is part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and is a member of a foreign league or association that has 15 or more amateur sports team.
To qualify for the P-1B visa, the visa holder’s circumstances must meet the following conditions:
- Coming to the U.S. to perform with an internationally recognized group;
- At least 75% of the members of the group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year;
- The group must have a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered and is renowned in more than one country;
- The group must have been established for a minimum of one year and recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
To qualify for the P-2 visa, an individual must be coming to the United States temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country. A P-2 visa holder may come to the United States individually or as part of a group.
To qualify for the P-3 visa, an individual must be coming to the United States to perform, teach or coach as an artist or entertainer in a program that is culturally unique. The purpose of the program must be to develop, represent, interpret, teach, or coach a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. The program may be commercial or noncommercial. The visa holder must be coming to the United States to participate in a cultural event or events that further the understanding or development of the visa holder’s art form.
To qualify for a P-4 visa, an individual must be the spouse or unmarried child under 21 years of age to a P visa holder.
In order to come to the United States to assist a P visa holder, an individual must provide highly skilled essential support to the P visa holder and be an integral part of the successful performance of the P visa holder.
What is the process for obtaining a P visa?
The application and approval process for P-1A, P-1B, P-2, and P-3 visa holders begins with the requirement that the applicant or his or her agent or potential employer file form I-129 and written consultation from an applicable labor organization appropriate for the specific visa. Both of these items must be filed with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Specific Evidentiary Requirements
Each of the P visas have other specific requirements as part of the application process, apart from the form I-129 and the consultation letters. Particularly, applicants for each visa must provide evidence of their outstanding athletic, artistic, or entertainment credentials and the contracts or the events and activities that cause them to seek entry into the United States. The evidentiary requirements can vary significantly based on the P visa and even the visa holder’s specific purpose of entry into the U.S. under his or her visa.
P-4 visa applicants
Eligible family members who seek to join their P visa holder relative in the U.S. must file form DS-160. This form asks for personal information and to explain the purpose of entry into the United States. It is available and may be filled out online. After submitting the form, you will receive a confirmation code that you will need throughout the rest of the process.
After submitting the form DS-160, a P-4 visa applicant will receive form I-797 and must attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate where an official will evaluate an applicant’s application and ask questions pertaining to why the applicant is seeking an P-4 visa, and the relationship between the P-4 applicant and the primary visa holder. If the P-4 applicant applies at the same time as the primary applicant, both may attend the interview.
At the interview, an applicant must bring:
- The P visa holder’s form I-797;
- A copy of the P visa holder’s passport;
- A copy of the P visa holder’s visa;
- The applicant’s valid passport;
- A photograph that conforms to U.S. visa photo requirements;
- A copy of the DS-160 confirmation page;
- Receipts showing the applicant paid all fees;
- The interview confirmation letter;
- Proof of the applicant’s relationship with the O-1 or O-2 visa holder:
- Valid marriage certificates for a spouse;
- Valid birth certificate for children
How much does it cost to get an P visa?
The application fee for all P visa’s is $460.
How long are P visas valid?
A P-1A visa holder may stay in the United States for as long as required to complete the event, competition, or performance. However, the initial stay period is capped at five years. Extensions may be obtained in increments of five years, though this is capped at 10 years.
A P-1B visa holder may stay in the United States for as long as required to complete the event, competition, or performance. However, the initial stay period is capped at one year. Extensions may be obtained in increments of one year in order to complete the event, competition, or performance.
The initial period of stay includes the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed one year. P-2 visa holders may be eligible to extend their stay in increments of up to one year to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.
Family members of the primary P visa holder may only stay in the United States as long as required for the primary visa holder to complete the event, competition or performance.
Support personnel to P visa holder may stay in the United States for as long as require to complete the event, activity, or performance. However, this time period cannot exceed one year.