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Frequently Asked Questions and
Answers about P Visa Application or Extension

P visa Questions graphic

What is the P visa?

A: P visa is for certain athletes, artists and entertainers who wish to live and work temporarily in the United States. To begin the application process, the future employer must file a Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) in the United States with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. If approved, the USCIS will mail the petitioner a Form I-797 (Notice of Action). The beneficiary may then apply for a P visa at the United States Embassy or Consulate. 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 or 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 in culturally unique programs. 

The P-1S, P-2S and P-3S visas are designated for support staff intending to stay in the U.S. temporarily as an essential part of a competition or performance, athletic or arts and entertainment-related.

Q: What are the P visa's classifications?

A: A P visa is a type of temporary employment visa of the United States, granted to alien athletes, artists, and entertainers, and their spouses and children. The P visa classifications are as follows:

1) P-1 visa (Internationally Recognized Athletes/Entertainers): An internationally recognized athlete traveling to the United States to compete and his or her essential support personnel require P-1 visas. An internationally recognized entertainer traveling to the United States to perform requires a P-1 visa. P-1 applies to individual or team athletes, or members of an entertainment group (P-1B) that are internationally recognized. A maximum of 25,000 P visas are issued annually.

2) P-2 visa (Reciprocal Exchange Program): P-2 visa applies to artists or entertainers who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program.

3) P-3 visa (Culturally Unique Programs): P-3 applies to artists or entertainers who perform under a program that is culturally unique. 
An artist or entertainer who is traveling to the United States to perform, teach, or coach under a culturally unique program requires a P-3 visa. 

4) P-4 visa (Spouse and Children of a P Visa Holder): P-4 is for the spouse, or child under the age of 21, of a P-1, P-2, or P-3 alien and who is accompanying, or following to join, the alien. Spouses and children under the age of 21 can receive P-4 visas to travel with or follow-to-join the principal alien in the United States.

Q: Who can enter U.S. on a P visa?

A: If you are an entertainer or an athlete desiring to enter the U.S. and you do not qualify for an O visa, a P visa may be the best option for you. The P visa allows entertainers and athletes to come into the U.S. and stay for five years. P-1 visa can help athletes, musicians, band members and other entertainers enter the U.S. legally to work and pursue their endeavors. 

The P-1 visa is usually valid for five years. Athletes, athletic teams, singers, individual musicians and entertainment groups including bands, as well as anyone who is an integral part of an entertainment group, can enter the U.S. on a P visa. Family members (spouses and children) of P-1 visa holders can accompany them to the U.S. through the P-4 visa. 


Q: For whom is a P-1 visa appropriate?

A: P-1 visa is appropriate for internationally recognized athletes or athletic teams entering the U.S. to participate in an event of international standing, and entertainers and entertainment companies recognized internationally as outstanding to tour the U.S. or participate in events distinguished circus artists who wish to work in the US.

P-1 visas are available for international artists, athletes and entertainers who wish to perform in the United States. For example, there are approvals for several international Kung Fu athletes under the P-1 visa category. The athletes have been members of national teams and successfully participated in international competitions all over the world. As a result, these Kung Fu athletes have been able to enter the United States to participate in various competitions, as well as work and coach at Kung Fu schools.

Q: What are the three categories of P visa?

A: The P visa is divided into three categories: 1) internationally recognized athletes, 2) artists and entertainment groups and 3) culturally unique entertainers. There are three categories of people eligible for the P visa: athletes and performers(P-1), artists in exchange programs (P-2) and culturally unique artists (P-3).

This visa is ideal for athletes competing in professional U.S. tournaments, performing artists and groups in music, dance or other performance areas. To obtain this visa, the person must apply at the U.S. consulate in their home country.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements of P visa? 

A: The P-1 visa classifications cover individuals who compete at an internationally recognized level. The P-2 visa classification is for individuals who are entertainers or a part of a performance group that perform on a reciprocal exchange program with U.S. organizations. Necessary documentation includes formal reciprocal exchange agreements, descriptions of the exchange program and evidence of qualifying skills. 

The P-3 visa applicant must be at least 18 years of age, be qualified to perform the work as specified on the petition, communicate effectively, and have not resided in the United States during the last year before arrival on a P-3 visa. 

Q: What are the P-1 visa requirements?

A: The P-1 visa is for: 1) internationally recognized athletes or 2) members of an internationally recognized athletic team or 3) members of an internationally recognized entertainment group.  The P-1 classification is available only to members of foreign-based entertainment groups, not individual entertainers. In addition, the P-1 alien must be coming to perform and/or compete. The P-1 petition is filed in conjunction with the I-129 form and submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

In support of P-1 petitions, the P-1 alien must submit copies of their international awards, certificates of accomplishment, and photographs documenting their activities and accomplishments. In addition, a consultation discussing the alien's ability from a U.S. labor organization is also required. For entertainment groups, the petition should include documentation that the group is internationally recognized as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. 

In addition, for entertainment groups, the USCIS also accepts evidence such as reviews, newspaper articles, magazine articles, advertisements, etc. P-1 petitions can be approved for up to 5 years for an individual athlete, or the period of time determined by the USCIS director to be necessary to complete the event or activity. 


Q: Who is eligible for an P-1 visa?

A: P-1 visa is given to athletes performing at an internationally recognized level of performance, either individually or as part of a group, and to entertainers performing as part of a group which has been recognized internationally as being outstanding for a sustained period of time. P-1 visa classification are accorded to individual athletes and group entertainers, as well as their essential support personnel, who have accomplished international notoriety over a sustained period of time.

The P-1A visa is specifically for foreign nationals who are coming to the United States temporarily in order to participate in a certain athletic competition or as part of a team participating in an internationally recognized competition in the US.

The P-1B visa is for foreign nationals who are entertainers and are coming to the U.S. on a temporary basis for a performance as a member of an internationally recognized, foreign-based entertainment group. The individual must prove that he or she has a sustainable relationship with the performance group, usually of at least one year.

Q: What is P-2 visa? and what are the P-2 visa requirements?

A: The P-2 visa is for an alien coming to the United States to perform as an artist or entertainer individually or as part of a group or to perform as an integral part of the performance of such group, and who seeks to perform under a reciprocal exchange program. 

Normally, there are three P-2 reciprocal agreements: 1) one between the American Federation of Musicians (U.S.) and the American Federation of Musicians (Canada); 2) one between the Actor's Equity Association (U.S.) and the Canadian Actor's Equity Association; and 3) one between the Actor's Equity Association and the British Actors' Equity Association. 

P-2 group performers can be included on a single petition, but the essential support aliens must be on a separate petition from the performers. Some of the required P-2 documentation includes a copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the U.S. organization sponsoring the alien and the organization in a foreign country and a statement from the sponsoring organization describing the reciprocal exchange of U.S. artists or entertainers as it relates to the specific petition for which classification is sought. P-2 visas are approved with a validity period only necessary to complete the event or activity, and not to exceed one year. 

Q: Who is eligible for an P-2 visa?

A: P-2 visa is designed for artists, individual and group entertainers who enter the United States via a reciprocal exchange program. Unlike the O-1 visa, the P-2 does not require that the artist or entertainer demonstrate prominence or experience in the field. The P-2 visa is for foreign nationals who are entertainers — either individuals or those who are part of a group. However, the P-2 visa applies only to reciprocal exchange programs between an organization in the US and another country.

The P-2 visa is issued to artists or entertainers, individually or as a group, as well as their essential support personnel, who will be performing under a reciprocal exchange program which is between an organization or organizations in the United States, which may include a management organization, and an organization or organizations in one or more foreign states and which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers, or groups of artists and entertainers.

Q: What is P-3 visa? and what are the P-3 visa requirements?

A: P-3 Visas are for aliens coming to the U.S. solely to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique. The required documentation for this visa includes: affidavits or testimonials regarding the beneficiaries; skills and the cultural uniqueness of the entertainment, the consultation, and evidence that all performances in the engagement are cultural in nature. P-3 visas are approved with a validity period only necessary to complete the event or activity, and not to exceed one year. 

Q: Who is eligible for an P-3 visa?

A: P-3 visa allows entry for artists and entertainers involved in culturally unique events. This category includes unique art forms that may be less well known to the public because they do not ordinarily receive the widespread acclaim or recognition. Those who teach and coach are also included in this category.

The P-3 visa applies to foreign nationals planning on participating in a program deemed culturally unique in the arts and entertainment field. P-3 visa applicants may be teachers, performers or coaches, and they can apply individually or as part of a group.

Q: Who is eligible for an P-4 visa?

A: Spouses and children of the P-1 visa holder may obtain a P-4 visa to enter and remain in the US. The P-4 visa holder may attend school but if he or she wishes to work, he or she must change his or her status to obtain a work visa. 

The P-4 classification is issued to immediate relatives of P-1, P-2, and P-3 Visa holders who are accompanying or following to join the principal alien, but they are not afforded any right to be employed while in the United States while holding such visa status.

Q: What are the P visa application procedures?

A: P visa application procedures include:

1) Before an alien worker can obtain a P visa to enter the United States, the employer should obtain an advisory opinion from an appropriate consulting entity (the advisory opinion must be from a labor organization) or show that an appropriate peer group, labor organization, or management organization does not exist;

2) the employer must obtain approval from the USCIS of P petition; and

3) A U.S. consulate must issue an alien a P visa based on the approved petition.

Q: How to apply for a P-1 visa?

A: Individuals applying for a P-1A visa must include a copy of his or her contract (for example, with a sports team) and a written consultation with the relevant labor organization for his or her field of work.

Additionally, certain evidence attesting to the individual's or a team's significance must be handed in, such as proof of significant prior participation in a major US sports league or US intercollegiate competition, or evidence that the individual or team places in international rankings if these exist for the sport.

A P-1B applicant must also include a written consultation with the significant labor organization and evidence that the foreign national or group is internationally recognized. To prove this, evidence can be submitted regarding the receipt of international awards or prizes. Proof of a certain level of critical success, acclaim and/or international recognition is also needed.

Q: How to establish "international recognition" for entertainers to file P-1 visa petition?

A: To establish "international recognition," a petitioner may rely either on documentation of a major, one-time achievement by the group, such as the nomination for, or receipt of, a significant international award or prize, or at least three of the following:

1) Has and will perform as leading/starring group in productions/events with distinguished reputations; 

2) International recognition/acclaim for outstanding achievements; 

3) Has and will perform as leading/starring group for organizations with distinguished reputations; 

4) Record of major commercial/critically acclaimed success; 

5) Significant recognition from organizations, critics, governments, other recognized experts; 

6) Commanded/will command high salary/other substantial remuneration relative to others similarly situated.

Q: What kind of documents are required for P-2 visa application?

A: P-2 visas must be filed either by the sponsoring organization or U.S. employer. 

Required items include a written consultation from the labor organization in question, information regarding the reciprocal exchange program and a statement from the sponsoring organization with details regarding the reciprocal agreement.

Q: What is the "evidence of the cultural uniqueness of the activity" for P-3 visa application?

A: The P-3 visa application also requires a written consultation from the necessary labor organization. Evidence of the cultural uniqueness of the activity to be performed in the U.S. is also needed. This can be proven in a variety of ways, for instance through written testimonials and affidavits, or documentation such as newspaper reviews or other published material.

Q: What kind of documents are required for support personnel visas?

A: Support personnel visas must be filed alongside one of the other types of P visas. They must also include a written consultation from an appropriate labor organization, a written statement as to the foreign national's critical skills and prior experience, as well as a copy of any employment contracts.

Q: What is the definition of international recognition?

A: International recognition is defined as a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is renowned, leading or well-known in more than one country.

Q: What privileges do I enjoy on P-1 visa?

A: An internationally recognized artist, entertainer, or athlete may enter into the U.S. to participate in a performance for a U.S. employer or an international employer working through a U.S. agent. The performance must require a performer of international quality. On P-1 visa, you may: 

1) Enter the U.S. and perform for payment or prize money;

2) Engage in part time study;

3) Apply for visas for accompanying essential support personnel;

4) Apply for P-4 visas for your dependents 

Q: How long can I stay in the U.S. on P-1 work visa? Can I apply for extension of stay on P-1 work visa?

A: P visa holder may be allowed to stay in the U.S. for up to five years with extensions not to exceed a total stay of ten years. 

1) P-1 individual athlete and essential support personnel may be authorized to extend stay for a period up to five years for a total period of stay not to exceed ten years;

2) Other P-1, P-2, P-3 foreign nationals and support personnel may be authorized to extend stay in increments of one year to continue or complete the same event or activity for which admitted.

Q: Can I study on P-1 work visa? Are there any travel restrictions on P-1 visa? Can I bring my dependents on P-1 visa? and can my dependents work on P-4 visa? 

A: Yes, you may engage in part time study on P-1 visa. 

There are no travel restrictions on P-1 visa. You may travel in and out of the U.S. as long as your visa stamp and status are valid. 

You may apply for P-4 visa for your spouse and unmarried children below 21 years. The dependents on P-4 visa may not be employed or receive compensation from any U.S. source. 

Q: Can P visa holder apply for Adjustment of Status (U.S. Green Card)?

A: If a valid reason exists, an alien who is already in the U.S. in a nonimmigrant classification can change his status to P category by filing a change of status application with USCIS. 

Although a P alien is required to maintain his foreign residency while he/she is in P status, he/she can lawfully seek to become a permanent resident. Therefore, the approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of an immigrant petition is not a basis for denying a P petition, an extension request, or a change of status application.

Q: What is the major difference between O visa and P visa?

A: P visas benefit talented individuals in the arts, sports and entertainments who are planning on a temporary stay in the United States in order to pursue, perform or teach their craft. It is a temporary worker visa with a variety of categories for foreign nationals with diverse skill sets. Although it may sound a lot like the O visa, the P visa differs in that applicants don't have to meet the O visa's "extraordinary ability" requirement.

The P-1 visa is a non-resident visa designated for entertainers, circus artists, and athletes who are coming to the US temporarily to perform at a specific competition or event. An athlete who wishes to remain in the US for a longer period of time should apply for an O1 visa.

Q: What is the USCIS' Premium Processing Service for P-1 visa application?

A: USCIS had introduced a premium processing service that allows P Visa petitioners and beneficiaries to pay more than $1,000 premium-processing fee (in addition to regular filing fees) for expedited processing of their P Visa petitions. 

In return for the premium processing fee, the USCIS will guarantee processing of petitions within 15 calendar days of receipt of the petition. Applications filed concurrently by dependents of a beneficiary choosing to use the Premium Processing Service will also be processed within 15 days without an additional premium processing fee. 

If the USCIS does not issue an approval notice, notice of intent to deny, request for evidence, or notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within 15 days of physical receipt of a petition, the Service will refund the premium processing fee but will still expeditiously process the case. 

Q: What is the P visa duration of stay and extension?

A: For individual P-1 athletes and support personnel, an initial period of stay can be approved for five years. An extension of stay can be granted for an additional period of five years for a total period of stay not to exceed 10 years. 

For all other P nonimmigrants, the initial period of stay can be approved for the time necessary for the specific competition, event, or performance, up to a period of one year. If necessary, P extension can be granted in one-year increments in order to permit the P alien to complete the event listed in the initial petition.

Q: What is the period of stay and the extension of stay for athlete.

A: The period of stay and the extension of stay for athlete are:

1) Individual Athlete - Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 5 years Individual Athlete –Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

2) Athletic Group - Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year, increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

3) Essential Support Personnel - Time to complete the event, activity, or performance, may not exceed 1 year Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

Q: What about the P visa for family members?

A: The family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) of the principal alien are classified in the P-4 category. They cannot engage in employment in the U.S. unless they are independently qualified to obtain employment authorization.

Q: Can an alien change to P status inside the United States?

A: If a valid reason exists, an alien who is already in the U.S. in a nonimmigrant classification can change his status to P category by filing a change of status application with USCIS. 

Q: Can an P visa holder change to U.S. Permanent Resident?

A: Although a P alien is required to maintain his foreign residency while he is in P status, he can lawfully seek to become a U.S. permanent resident. Therefore, the approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of an immigrant petition is not a basis for denying a P petition, an extension request, or a change of status application. 

Q: What are the requirements for a sports team to file P-1 visa petition for its foreign athletes?

A: A sports team can file petition for its foreign athlete and for a P-1 visa to be granted to the team it must have achieved "international recognition" in the sport. An athlete who will come to the United States to compete in individual events rather than as a team must show that he or she is internationally recognized. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has defined "international recognition" as a "having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country." 

The event the athlete is coming to the United States to participate in must have a distinguished reputation and must require the participation of athletes and teams of international recognition. The definition is similar to that of O-1B "extraordinary ability," but somewhat more stringent. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members nor the acclaim of a particular production, is paramount.

Q: What are the requirements for entertainers to file P-1 visa petition?

A: Entertainers must be part of an entertainment group to obtain a P-1 visa. Individual artists cannot usually obtain a P-1 visa, except when joining the rest of their foreign entertainment group already in the United States. Like athletes, entertainers must be "internationally recognized" as outstanding in their area to be granted P visas, and have a sustained period of achievement no less than one year. 

Additionally, a minimum for 75 percent of the group's individual members must have a substantial relationship to the group, generally satisfied by at least one year of membership.

Q. What is a consultation letter, and why do I need one?

A. The USCIS asks that you include a letter from an appropriate peer group or union to establish that the artist or group who is traveling to this country meets the standard of being Internationally Renowned (in the case of O-1 and P-1 Visas) or Culturally Unique (in the case of P-3 Visas). P-2 Visas are issued for artists and entertainers performing under a reciprocal exchange program - for example, Canadian musicians coming to perform in the U.S.

Q. Which visa should I apply for a P-1, "O-1", P-2 or P-3?

A. An "O-1" visa is for an individual artist of International Renown; that is, well known outside his or her home country. A P-1 is for a group that meets the same standard.

P-2 visas are issued for Canadian artists/musicians entering the U.S. for a reciprocal exchange program. P-3 visas are for groups which are Culturally Unique - for example, musicians who perform folk music of their home country.

Q. What information do I need to provide in order to receive a consultation letter from American Federation of Musicians?

A. The following information is needed in order to issue a letter of consultation:

1) A cover letter explaining who the aliens are, where they are from, and what qualifies them as Culturally Unique or Internationally Renowned.

2) A copy of the USCIS form I-129.

3) Copies of any written contracts between the petitioner and the alien beneficiary, including what wages will be earned; or, if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien(s) will be employed. 

4) A copy of the itinerary, including the names and addresses of the venues.

5) A roster with the musicians' instrumentation. 

6) Support materials such as reviews, CD covers, programs, etc. which establishes the group or instrumental artist. Support materials must feature the instrumentalists - information on singers/actors/dancers only is NOT sufficient.

7) Your fax and telephone number. 

Q: What happens after a P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa petition is approved? 

A: the alien beneficiary should apply for the P visa. If the beneficiary of the P visa petition is outside of the country when the petition is approved, he/she must apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate. 

Some beneficiaries may be visa exempt. In those cases, the I-129 approval notice is sent to the port of entry (POE) where the beneficiary intends to apply for admission. 

If the beneficiary is already in the U.S. and is changing from one nonimmigrant status to another, a visa is not required. However, a visa may be required if the beneficiary subsequently leaves the U.S. and wishes to re-enter.

Q: What is the period of stay and the extension of stay for athlete.

A: The period of stay and the extension of stay for athlete are:

1) Individual Athlete - Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 5 years Individual Athlete –Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

2) Athletic Group - Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year, increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

3) Essential Support Personnel - Time to complete the event, activity, or performance, may not exceed 1 year Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

Q: What are the application documentation requirements for petitions involving multiple employers?

A: According to the USCIS, petitions involving multiple employers (meaning multiple "events" or venues) may now be filed by an agent that has authority to act both on behalf of the beneficiary and on behalf of multiple employers. The following is a list of recommended documentation to support the petition:

1) A complete itinerary of all events or services; the itinerary must specific dates of each service or engagement; the names and addresses of the actual employers, and the names and addresses of the establishments, venues or locations where the services will be performed;

2) The contracts between the employers and the beneficiary; and

3) An explanation from the agent, setting forth the terms and conditions of the employment and providing supporting documentation.

Q: How to act as "agent" for multiple employers to file P visa?

A: In the real world, "multiple employers" described in the regulations are the various venues, sponsors, promoters and others, who are requesting your beneficiary's performance or services. Therefore, consent to act as the employers' agent, as well as on behalf of the beneficiary, is required. In addition to a detailed itinerary, the petition should include all contracts or any correspondence between the agent and the employers, as evidence that the employers are consenting to the agent/petitioners' acting on their behalf.

USCIS offers recommendations for acceptable evidence to confirm this point, and includes signed fee agreements, statements outlining the nature of the representation, and more. Notably, USCIS points out that while evidence of the agent's compensation helps establish the petitioner is in business as an agent, compensation is not a requirement to establish agency.

Q: How to act as actual "employer" for an agent?

A: Where an agent files as petitioner and therefore employer, the individual must establish that he or she is also acting on behalf of multiple employers of the beneficiary. To do so, the agent must include evidence that he or she is "in the business as an agent."

USCIS adjudicators will consider evidence confirming that it is more likely than not that the petitioner is in the business as an agent for the series of events, services or engagements that is the subject of the petition. The analysis should be on whether the petitioner (agent) can establish that it is authorized to act as an agent for the other employers only for purposes of filing the petition.

Q: Can a P petitions be  filed by a U.S. sponsoring organization?

A: Certain organizations can petition for P nonimmigrants even if they will not employ or directly pay the beneficiary. Rather, a sponsoring organization may petition for any beneficiary under the P classification so long as the petitioner confirms that it will assume responsibility for the terms of the petition. 

The sponsoring organization should include a written agreement setting forth the terms of the performance with the beneficiary, and an affirmation that the organization will perform all of its obligations under the petition. The sponsoring organization need not directly employ the P nonimmigrant.

Q: Can P-4 visa holder work in U.S.?

A: A dependent family member of musicians and performing artists generally is ineligible to work in the United States unless the person qualifies for an independent nonimmigrant status which authorizes employment. The spouse and children also can attend public school provided the principal has been admitted on a work authorized visa, such as P visa.

Q: Can P visa holder apply for in U.S. Permanent Resident (Green Card)? 

A: Individuals who hold P status in the United States may wish to apply for permanent resident status. There are multiple employment-based permanent residence options which may be available, as follows:

1) EB-1 person of extraordinary ability includes persons with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics. It is important to review the statute and regulations carefully.10 Note
that a sponsoring employer is not needed for this category; however, the beneficiary must intend to continue in the area of his or her expertise.

2) EB-2 Aliens of Exceptional Ability in the sciences, arts or business is another category which may be available to musicians and performing artists, provided they have an offer of permanent employment. The definition of exceptional ability is a lesser standard than an EB-1 person of extraordinary ability.

3) Labor Certification. Labor certification will only be available where the P visa holder is offered full-time permanent employment.

4) The Diversity Visa Lottery may be available to certain musicians and performing artists who are citizens of eligible countries.

For the P visa holder, the approval of a labor certification or filing of a preference petition shall not be a basis to deny a P petition or extension. Note this does not apply to essential support personnel.

Q: I have a short term contract to perform in U.S. with an entertainment company. I do not know exactly which visa type is good for my situation. I am considering the P visa or O visa. What are the requirements and advantages for a P visa? 

A: P visa is a U.S. work visa, and it is available to outstanding athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies with a job offer from a U.S. employer. There is no annual limit for the number of people who can receive P visa. The P visas will be granted for the length of time needed to complete a particular event, up to a maximum of one year. However, P-1 athletes may be admitted for a period of up to five years, with one extension of up to five years. 

The key features of the P visa and some of the advantages/disadvantages of the P visa include:

  • The P visa holder can work legally in the U.S. for the P visa sponsor. If the alien wants to change jobs, getting a new visa will be necessary;

  • P visas can be issued relatively quickly;

  • A P visa holder may travel in and out of the U.S. or stay continuously for as long as the P visa and status are valid;

  • A spouse and unmarried children under age 21 may receive P-4 visas to accompany the P visa holder, but they may not accept employment in U.S.;

  • P visa holder's essential support personnel may also be granted P visa.

Q: We would like to invite an entertainment group of a foreign country to come to United Stats with P-3 visa, with the help of your excellent P visa Do-It-Yourself package. We understand that the "culturally unique” is required for P-3 visa classification. How could we describe it in our P-3 visa application? and do we have to provide expert written testimony for the "culturally unique”?

A: The “culturally unique” requirement has a significant role in the adjudication of P-3 visa applications for performing artists and entertainers. In many cases, musical groups and entertainers from foreign countries were denied a P-3 visa for failing to establish that their performance was “culturally unique” as required for the P-3 visa classification. 

Generally, a “culturally unique” style of art or entertainment is not limited to traditional art forms, but may include artistic expression that is deemed to be a hybrid, or fusion of more than one culture or region. Due to the complex and novel issue in P-3 visa applications, the P visa regulatory definition of “culturally unique” requires USCIS adjudicators to make a case-by-case factual determination, and USCIS adjudicators will review the entire record of the musical groups or entertainers, which included expert written testimony, and corroborating evidence on behalf of the musical group or entertainers. 

Q: I am a singer in a performing group. Our group is invited to perform at an noncommercial cultural event this summer at Chicago by a U.S. organization. We were told that we need to apply for P3 visa to come to U.S. to participate the event. What kind of documents we need to prepare the P3 visa application?

A: The P3 visa is for artists or entertainers who come to United States to develop, interpret, represent, teach, or coach in a program that is considered culturally unique, either individually or as part of a group. The art or entertainment program may be of either a commercial or noncommercial nature. 

The P3 applicant must be coming to United States to participate a cultural event or events that will further the understanding or development of an art form. For P3 visa application, the U.S. employer should submit an application to USCIS on behalf of the alien applicant, including the following evidence:

1) statements from experts in the field, to show the authenticity of the person or group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching, or teaching the unique or traditional art form.

2) evidence that the person or group’s art form is culturally unique, as shown by reviews in newspapers, journals, or other published materials, and that the performance will be culturally unique.


 

 

 

 


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