P Visas


The P visa generally applies to foreign athletes and entertainment groups who do not meet the “extraordinary ability” standard under the O visa classification. The P visa allows talented individuals to enter the U.S. for a temporary period to compete in a sports competition or participate in an entertainment performance.

Are you a foreign citizen and a great athlete, but unable to meet the standards for an O visa? Are you or your sports team recognized at the international level? Do you or your team have a sports competition in the United States?

or . . .

Are you part of an internationally known performing group in the entertainment industry? Do you and your group have to perform a show in the United States?

If you answered “Yes” to either set of questions above, then you and/or your team or group may qualify for a P-1A (athletes) or P-1B (entertainers) visa.


THE P-1A VISA

The P-1A visa category is for athletes coming to the U.S. temporarily to play in a specific, internationally recognized sports event or competition, either as an individual athlete or as part of a group or team. Some internationally recognized events include the World Cup (FIFA), the U.S. Open, any World Championships, and the Olympics.

WHAT DO I NEED TO SHOW AS AN INDIVIDUAL ATHLETE FOR A P-1A VISA?

You must demonstrate that you are highly skilled and are internationally recognized in your particular sport, more so than other athletes in your sport. You must also show that you are coming to the U.S. to participate in a specific event, competition, or performance.

WHAT DOES MY TEAM NEED TO SHOW FOR A P-1A VISA?

The team must be coming to the U.S. for a team event and must be internationally recognized in
the sport. The event or competition must be a popular competition, in which other internationally
known teams compete, as well.

WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO HAVE?

You must provide some documents to qualify for a P-1A visa. These documents are listed below:

1) A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization;

2) If available, your contract with a major U.S. sports league or team, or a contract in an internationally known individual sport;

3) A document explaining the competition and the program of the event;

4) And at least two of the following:
- Proof that you have played in a big event before with a U.S. sports league;
- Proof that you have played in a big event before with a team in your country in international competition;
- Proof that you have played for a U.S. college or university against other college teams;
- A letter from an official of a major U.S. sports league or from an official of the sport, which shows how you or your team is internationally known;
- A letter from a sports journalist or a sports expert, showing how your team is internationally known;
- Proof of what rank you and/or your team is, if applicable;
- Evidence that you or your team has received awards or honors


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