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US Visa for Athletes and Entertainers : US Visas
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US Visas

US Visa for Athletes and Entertainers

P class visas are for athletes and entertainers and their families who desire entry into the United States to perform or participate in specific events or competitions.
  • P-1 applies to those individuals or groups who compete at an internationally-recognized level.
  • P-2 is for individuals who are either entertainers or part of a performance group that performs through a reciprocal exchange program.
  • P-3 is for entertainers who are coming to perform, teach, or coast via a culturally unique program.
  • P-4 is for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 who will be traveling with other P class visa holders.
Support Personnel who can show that they are highly-skilled and are an essential factor in successful performance of an entertainer or athlete are usually allowed to accompany the P class visa holder under a temporary work visa. This includes trainers, scouts, and coaches.

Applying for a P Class Visa

The first step in applying for a P class visa is to obtain a written statement from the appropriate labor organization stating the nature of work to be carried out. It is also necessary to provide proof that the individual or group has been established and performing for at least a year. Next, a petition must be filed with the USCIS on the behalf of the individual or group wishing to obtain the P class visa. This petition must be filed by a US employer, sponsor, or agent or through a foreign agency using a US agent. Once the petition is approved, the approval notice can be taken to the US Consulate and application for the P class visa can be made.

Supporting Documentation

P-1 Sports Stars and Athletes

In order to apply for a P-1, you must show that you are a recognized sports figure and are scheduled to participate in an event of international standing. This includes proof that you hold a legal contract with a US team or organization or with an individual sport commensurate with international recognition. In addition, you must provide proof of two of the following:
  • Significant participation in a prior season with a US major league team.
  • Significant participation in intercollegiate competition in a prior season with a US college or university.
  • Proof of participation in international competitions with a nationally-recognized team.
  • A written statement from a recognized sports media figure or expert as to how you are a recognized sports figure or team.
  • Individual or team rankings on an international level.
  • Achieved recognized honors or awards.

P-1 Entertainers and Artists

Like sports figures and athletes, entertainers and artists must prove that they are internationally recognized. They must also demonstrate outstanding performance in their discipline for a sustained period of time. This can be shown through nomination for or receipt of international awards for achievement in their field or by providing proof of three of the following:
  • The individual or group has performed in a leading or starring role in a production or event that has received national recognition through critical reviews, press releases, endorsements, contracts, or write-ups in major publications.
  • The individual or group has received international recognition as evidenced by reviews and write-ups in major newspapers, magazines, trade journals, or other published material.
  • The group has released a commercially or critically successful record as evidenced by box-office receipts, ratings, record/video sales and write-ups in major publications.
  • The group or individual is proven to be in high-demand through salary and is capable of commanding substantial remuneration for performance as compared to his or her peers as evidenced by contracts or other financial source materials.

P-2 Entertainers and Artists

P-2 visa holders must be part of an exchange program between a foreign-based organization and a US-based one, where both parties participate in the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers. This exchange must be like-for likeŚwith skill, employment terms and conditions, and number of artists involved being equal or similar. Individuals or groups wishing to obtain a P-2 must show proof of reciprocal exchange agreements, as well as provide descriptions of the exchange program and evidence of qualifying skills.

P-3 Entertainers and Artists

P-3 applicants must be 18 years of age and show evidence that their intention is to perform, teach, or coach at a culturally-unique event. Anyone petitioning for a P-3 must show evidence that supports the cultural uniqueness of the performance and evidence that all performances scheduled will be culturally-unique in nature. Key supporting documentation includes: affidavits, testimonials, and letters from recognized experts; proof of cultural uniqueness via newspapers, journals, or trade publications; and any other evidence that establishes that the performances will be culturally unique events.

Additional Information

P-2 and P-3 visas are generally issued for the time period needed to perform or compete at the specific event. For P-1 visa holders, the initial period of stay can be up to five years, with an extension of stay of up to an additional five years, with a maximum of 10 years allowed.

Dependents traveling under P status (P-4) are not allowed to work whilst in the US; however, they can engage in full- or part-time study.

P-1 visa holders are also allowed to travel in and out of the US as needed. Once in the US, if desired, a P-1 visa holder can apply for an adjustment of status and seek US residency.


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US Visa for Athletes and Entertainers : US Visas