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P Visa for Athletes and Entertainers

The P visa is a non-immigrant visa allowing certain individuals to work temporarily in the United States. The P visa consists of four classifications: P-1, P-2, P-3, and P-4.

The P visa classification covers aliens that are internationally recognized athletes, artists or entertainers. The spouse and unmarried children of the P visa holder may also accompany the P visa holder to the United States during his or her duration of stay.

The P-1 visa may be issued to an individual or to a team /group. The P visa allows for individuals that are part of a team or entertainment group to come to the United States and perform temporarily. Other classifications under the P visa cover individuals who perform, teach, or coach under culturally unique programs.

It is the United States employer or sponsor who must file the petition with USCIS and not the individual performer. Once the petition is approved, the appropriate P classification is determined. It is necessary for the P individual to know what classification he or she has been approved under before applying for a visa to enter the United States. 

Commonly used abbreviations used throughout the P visa information and application manual:

  • Arts may be fine arts, visual arts, and/or performing arts. 
  • Competition, event, or performance may be an athletic competition, athletic season, tournament, tour, exhibit, project, entertainment event, engagement, or an entire season of performances. An event may also consist of different related activities. 
  • Contract involves any written agreement between the petitioner and the beneficiary(ies) outlining the terms and conditions of employment. The following should be included: type of services to be performed, wage paid, hours of work, working conditions, and any fringe benefits. 
  • Culturally unique may be an artistic expression, methodology, or medium that is particular to a country, nation, society, class, ethnicity, religion, tribe, or other group of individuals. 
  • Essential support alien is an individual who is highly skilled and essential to the P-1, P-2, or P-3 individual’s performance.  The nature of the support should not be easily performed by a U.S. worker. The supporting individual must have appropriate qualifications to perform the services including critical knowledge and experience in providing the support for the P-1, P-2, or P-3 performer. 
  • Group or team includes two or more individuals that perform or provide a service as one entity or unit. 
  • Internationally recognized means that the level of achievement in a field is above the ordinary due to a high degree of skills while being recognized in more than one country. 
  • Member of a group describes the individual who is actually performing the entertainment or performing services. 
  • Sponsor is the organization in the U.S. which petition for the P-1, P-2, or P-3 individual. It is the sponsor’s responsibility to make sure that the petition is submitted with all the supplementary documentation. 

P Visa for Athletes and Entertainers