What is the P1 visa?
The P1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals who are athletes or performers to temporarily come to the United States to take part in an event, competition, or performance.
If you wish to apply for the P1 visa, you can apply for one of the following subcategories:
P1A Visa intended for internationally recognized athletes or an athletic team
P1B visa intended for individuals or members of an internationally recognized entertainment group.
For groups to be eligible for the P1 visa, the team must have at least two members.
If your application for the P1 visa is successful, you will be able to come to the United States to compete in a sporting event, participate in an athletic session, or participate in a sports tour. To qualify for the P1 visa, however, you will need to demonstrate that you have obtained international recognition as an athlete.
What are the requirements for the P1 visa?
If you are an athlete who has received international recognition and wish to apply for the P1 visa as part of a sports team, your group must meet the following criteria:
- The team you are part of was formed at least one year before your visa application.
- At least 75% of the group’s members have had a stable relationship with it for at least a year
- The team has a high degree of national or international recognition.
- Please note that those applying for the P1 visa to perform with their team may not perform individually while in the United States.
Essential support staff who play an important role in supporting P1 visa holders during their performance are also eligible to apply for the P1 visa. Essential support staff include coaches, athletic trainers, referees and scouts.
If you are an artist or entertainer and want to come to the United States to take part in an artistic performance or cultural event, you should apply for the P3 visa instead.
What are the eligibility requirements for the P1A visa?
Athletes applying for the P1 visa must meet at least two of the following requirements:
- I participated in a major US sports championship
- Have participated in an American university or college sports championship
- Having participated in an important national or international sporting competition
- They have received national or international acclaim
- Have been ranked nationally or internationally in a high position
- They have received a national or international award for their sporting achievements.
What are the eligibility requirements for the P1B visa?
Artists or groups applying for the P1B visa must meet the following requirements:
- They have achieved great success in terms of ratings, records, videos or box office sales
- They have been mentioned and praised by major newspapers or other media
- They have received recognition from critics and government agencies
- They received high compensation for their work and performance.
How to apply for a P1 visa?
Regardless of whether you are applying for the P1A or P1B visa, the application process is similar. To apply for the P1 visa, you must be sponsored by a U.S. employer or organization. The first step of the application requires your U.S. employer to file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers and send it to USCIS on your behalf.
The petition must be submitted no more than 6 months before the scheduled performance in the United States. If your US employer requests a team, you can submit a collective form.
Once your petition is approved, USCIS will notify you and your U.S. sponsor by submitting Form I-797, Notice of Action. Once you have received it, you can proceed with the P1 visa application.
The next step is to fill out Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. This is the form required for most US visa applications. To complete it, you will need to provide personal information and answer questions about your background and the purpose of your visit to the United States. Once you finish submitting the DS-160 form, be sure to keep the confirmation page as you will need to bring it to your visa interview.
Then, to continue your application, you will need to pay the visa application fee of $190. Remember to save your receipts and include them in your portfolio of evidence.
After paying the fee, you can schedule and subsequently attend the visa interview. All individuals between the ages of 14 and 79 who wish to apply for a US visa must attend an interview at a US embassy.
During the interview you will be asked various questions to check whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the visa and whether the information you have included in the application is true. You must answer all questions truthfully because otherwise you may be denied a visa.
What supporting documents do I need to prepare?
When you apply for the P1 visa, you must submit a file of documents that serves to prove your eligibility for the visa. Your evidence portfolio must contain these documents:
- A confirmation page showing that you have submitted Form DS-160
- A passport valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the United States
- A passport-sized photograph
- A receipt showing that you have paid the visa application fee
- Form I-797 confirming that your petition has been approved
- A letter from a U.S. employer describing what benefits and events you will attend
- A contract with your US sponsor
- Proof that you or your team is recognized nationally or internationally.
- Additionally, if you bring your dependents with you to the United States, you must include a valid marriage certificate for your spouse and birth certificates for your children.
How long is the P1 visa processing time?
While the waiting time for the P1 visa varies, most applications are processed within 3-6 months.
If you don’t want to wait that long, you can pay an additional fee of $1,225 and use the premium processing service.
You will then receive a decision within just 15 days. If USCIS does not notify you of the outcome of your visa application within these 15 days, you will be refunded.
Errors in your application or failure to include some of the required evidence may lead to delays in processing your P1 visa.
This is why it is crucial to seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer when applying.
How long is the P1 visa valid?
Depending on the individual situation of each applicant, there are different validities of the P1 visa. The initial period for which you will be granted the P1 visa depends on the time needed to complete the business in the United States.
However, the maximum duration of the P1 Visa granted to individual athletes is 5 years. For a team of athletes, the maximum initial validity period of the visa is 1 year. Animation groups also receive the P1 visa for an initial period of up to 1 year.
After this period expires, you must return to your home country. If your visa is about to expire and you need more time in the United States, you can request an extension. While individual athletes can receive an extension of up to an additional 5 years, sports teams or entertainment groups can request extensions in 1-year increments.
Essential personnel may initially remain in the United States for up to 1 year, but may request an extension of an additional 5 years. However, the total stay of essential personnel cannot exceed 10 years.
Can the P1 visa lead to a Green Card?
The P1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning you can only stay in the United States for a limited time. Once your visa expires, you are required to return to your home country. When you apply for the P1 visa, you must demonstrate your intent to leave the United States at the end of the visa’s validity.
Obtaining permanent residency in the United States with the P1 visa is difficult, but if you are an athlete with exceptional ability and have received major international awards for your achievements, you may be eligible for the EB1 visa. If your application is successful, you will receive permanent resident status in the United States.
Can I bring my dependents to the United States on the P1 visa?
P1 visa holders may bring their dependents to the United States. Dependents include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. In order to join you, they must apply for the P4 visa. They can apply at the same time as you or later, once you already have the P1 visa. If their request is approved, they will be able to remain in the United States for as long as your P1 visa is valid. They will be able to study in the United States, but not work.
What is the difference between the P1 visa and the P3 visa?
The P1 visa is primarily intended for athletes and entertainment groups who are internationally recognized for their talent. The P3 visa, however, allows artists to come to the United States to take part in a culturally unique program. If you come to the United States on the P3 visa, you must demonstrate that the event you want to attend is culturally unique. If you receive the P1 visa as a member of an entertainment group, there is no such requirement and you can participate in any show or event you wish.
What are the benefits of the P1 visa?
If your application for the P1 visa is successful, you will be able to come to the United States to perform and receive money for it. You can also study part-time during your stay. Another advantage of the P1 visa is that you can bring your dependents with you provided they meet the eligibility criteria and apply for the P4 visa for dependents of P1 visa holders.