The Ranchod Law Group in Sacramento, California, is one of the nation’s leading immigration law firms focusing on employment visas, including P visas.
Who Can Receive a P Visa?
P visas are short-term U.S. work visas available to internationally recognized performers, artists, athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies that have received a job offer from a U.S. employer.
Spouses and children of P visa holders may accompany them to the United States for the length of the visa, but they are prohibited from securing employment. P visas can be issued to individuals, performing groups, or an entire team, as well as any essential support personnel.
There are four P visa classifications:
- P-1 visa for internationally recognized athletes and entertainers
- P-2 visa for artists or entertainers
- P-3 visa for culturally unique programs
- P-4 visa for dependents of P 1-3 visa holders
Eligibility Requirements for P Visas
To be eligible for a P visa, the following criteria must be met:
- Performers, artists, athletes, athletic teams, performing groups, or entertainment companies must be internationally recognized as performing at an outstanding level or they are participating in an event of international standing.
- Athletic applicants must provide proof of legal contracts with a major U.S. sports league or organization.
- For entertainment groups, each performer who wishes to qualify for a P-1 visa must have been an integral part of the group for at least one year. However, up to 25% of them may be excused from this requirement, if needed, or waived in exceptional circumstances (such as illness preventing the travel of a critical performer).
- Coaching staff are required to actively support athletes or entertainers while they’re in the U.S.
- Applicants must provide proof that an exchange program exists between their organization and the sponsoring U.S. organization.
- All people involved in the exchange program are of equal caliber and will be employed in similar conditions for similar periods of time.
- Artists and entertainers must be highly experienced and possess skills comparable to the U.S. artists in the reciprocal program.
- An appropriate labor organization must be involved in negotiating the terms of the reciprocal exchange program.
- Applicants for P-3 visas must typically be at least eighteen years of age if they intend to coach or teach.
- Applicants must qualify to perform the work specified on the petition.
- Applicants cannot have resided in the United States during the last year prior to their arrival on a P-3 visa.
Additional Advantages and Limitations of a P Visa
- P visas can typically be issued quickly.
- There is no annual limit on the number of people who can receive a P visa.
- If a P visa holder would like to change jobs, they will need to apply for a new visa.
- P visas are granted for the time needed to complete an event, tour, or season, up to one year. P-1 athletes may be admitted for up to five years, with up to a five-year extension.
- P visa holders may be allowed additional time for vacation, promotional appearances, and stopovers related to the event they’re attending.
- P visa holders may travel within and outside of the U.S. or stay continuously for as long as their visa status remains valid.