The P visa is a temporary employment-based visa granted to foreign athletes, artists, entertainers, coaches, supporting staff, and their spouses and children to travel to the United States. The P visa is classified into P-1, P-2, P-3, and P-4 categories. This article will provide a brief about all the P visa classification.
P visa classifications
Foreign athletes or members of entertainment groups can apply for P-1 Visas in order to compete in athletic competitions or entertain as a group in the United States. The P-1 visa is further categorized into P-1A and P-1B classification depending on your reason to travel to the US.
P-1A visa is one of the P visa classifications. If you’re traveling to the United States for the specific purpose of competing in a particular athletic competition, you’ll be classified as a P-1A visitor.
If any of the followings apply to you, you can be eligible for P-1A visa:
- An individual athlete at an internationally recognized level of performance;
- Part of a group or team at an internationally recognized level of performance;
- A professional athlete;
- An athlete or coach is a member of a foreign league or association and part of a team or franchise located in the United States .
Professional or amateur athletes traveling to the United States exclusively to perform in a theatrical ice skating production or tour, alone or as part of a group, are also classified as P-1A.
What is the period of stay on a P-1A visa?
For individual athletes, USCIS grants them an initial stay for the time required to complete the event and not to exceed five years. They can apply for an extension of stay for an additional five years. For the group of athletes, the visa is granted initially for one year and can be extended in 1-year increments depending upon the time required to complete the event.
P-1B visa is for those noncitizens entering the US for a temporary period to perform as a member of an entertainment group. The group should be formed for at least one year and must be recognized internationally as outstanding in their exercise for a sustained and significant period of time. P-1B visa is a P visa classification for noncitizens.
Eligibility requirements for a P-1B visa
- A minimum of 75 percent of the group members must be associated with the group having a substantial and sustained relationship for at least one year.
- The entertainment group should have international recognition, with a high level of achievement in the field, provided such achievement is renowned, leading, or well recognized in one or more countries.
- The group’s reputation as a whole is taken into account, not that of a particular member’s achievement or acclaim.
- Individual entertainers who are not a part of a group are not eligible to apply for a P-1B visa classification.
USCIS provides an exception to the eligibility requirements for specific groups.
- The one-year requirement and the globally recognized requirement are waived for noncitizen circus performers and key circus employees. However, the noncitizen or noncitizens must be coming to the US to join a nationally recognized circus.
- Some nationally recognized groups may be exempted from the requirement of international recognition if they can establish to the USCIS that they are nationally recognized as outstanding in their discipline for a sustained amount of time in consideration of special circumstances.
What is the period of stay on a P-1B Visa?
A noncitizen beneficiary under the P-1B visa classification will get an initial stay for the time required to complete the event, competition, or performance and will not exceed one year. USCIS allows them to extend their stay in 1-year increments to continue or complete the event, competition, or performance.
The other P visa classification for essential support personnel who are an integral part of the P-1 visa holder’s performance and perform support services that a US worker cannot readily perform can apply for the P-1S classification. Support personnel may include coaches, scouts, trainers, broadcasters, referees, linesmen, umpires, and interpreters. USCIS grants them an authorized stay limited to the period necessary to complete the event, but not to exceed one year. They can extend their stay for the period required to complete the event, not to exceed five years, for a total period of stay not to exceed ten years.
The P-2 visa is only available to a specific group of artists and entertainers who visit the US as part of reciprocal exchange programs. Individual artists and groups are eligible for P2 visas if they desire to participate in a reciprocal exchange program jointly organized by organizations in the United States and other countries.
Eligibility for a P-2 visa
- The essential eligibility requirement is that you (and your group) must be part of a reciprocal exchange program organized by organizations in the United States and other countries. Five P-2 reciprocal agreements have been approved by the USCIS currently. If a reciprocal agreement is presented that is not among the five, USCIS will evaluate it to see if it complies with the regulatory criteria.
- You must have comparable skills to those of US artists and entertainers participating in the program outside of the US.
- Essential support staff who play a vital role in assisting the P-2 artist or entertainer and perform support services that US workers cannot readily perform are also eligible for a P-2 visa, a P visa classification.
What is the period of stay on a P-2 visa?
USCIS grants a P-2 visa for the time required to complete the event, competition, or performance not exceeding one year. You can apply for an extension in increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition, or performance.
A noncitizen may apply for a P-3 visa if he is coming to the US to perform, teach or coach as an artist or entertainer either as an individual or a group member under a culturally unique program.
Eligibility for a P-3 visa
- Individuals or groups of artists or entertainers traveling to the United States to develop, interpret, represent, coach, or teach a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, dramatic, or artistic performance or presentation may be granted a P-3 visa.
- Further, in addition to that, you must be visiting the United States to take part in a cultural event or activities that will contribute to your art form’s understanding or development. The program does not need to be organized for commercial purposes. It may be non-commercial.
- P-3 classification is also available to essential support employees who are a vital element of a P-3 artist’s or entertainer’s performance and offer support services that a US worker cannot conveniently do.
What is the period of stay on a P-3 visa?
The beneficiaries under the P-3 visa are granted an initial period of stay for the time required to complete the event, performance, or activity for which they are admitted, but it does not exceed one year. However, they may be granted an extension of stay in increments of up to one year to continue or complete the same activity, event, or performance.
Children under the age of 21 years and the spouse of the P-1, P-2, and P-3 visa holders can come to the US on a P-4 visa. P-4 status does not authorize them to work in the United States, but they may attend school or college.
You can travel to the US on a non-immigrant P visa if you are an artist, athlete, or entertainer. If you require any assistance in P visa classification, our immigration attorneys are delighted to help you. Please make sure to contact us for the same.