The P-1 visa can be divided into two types. The P-1A visa which allows recognized athletes to enter the U.S solely for the purpose of performing at a specific athletic competition. The second is the P-1B visa, which applies if someone is coming to the U.S. to perform as a member of an entertainment group.
This P-1A visa which deals with recognized athletes can be given to both professional athletes, amateur athletes, athletic teams, and coaches. First and foremost the competition the athlete is coming for must have a distinguished reputation and require internationally recognized athletes. The athlete’s reputation must also be distinguished. This can mean that they hold a high level of achievement in a sport, are and above ordinary player, or have demonstrated a high degree of skill and garnered recognition. P-1A visas can initially last for one year and can be extended.
The P-1B visa can be used by a person temporarily performing as a member of an entertainment group. The entertainment group being joined must be internationally recognized and have a high level of achievement. This can be proven with evidence of skill or substantial recognition. The reputation of the group, not the achievements of members or the acclaim of a single production, is essential. This is to say that the group must be well known and well established. It is also important to note that at least 75% of the members of a group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least a year
There are special provisions for certain groups. Circus performers and essential circus personnel are exempt from the one-year requirement and the internationally recognized requirements. So they themselves do not need to be well known in the field, however, the circus they are joining must be nationally recognized. Some nationally known entertainment groups may have their internationally recognized requirements waived. This is if they can be recognized as outstanding in their discipline for a sustained amount of time.