P3 Work VISA

What is a P3 visa?

The P3 visa is a visa for foreign artists or entertainers coming to be part of a culturally unique program in the United States. It could be performing, teaching or coaching.

This is a non-immigrant visa that both entertainers and their support staff can apply for. You can apply individually or in a group.

With a P3 visa you can enter the United States, make and receive payments, or win cash prizes. You can engage in part-time studies during your stay and bring your dependents with you.

The visa only allows you to work for the employer who sponsored your petition. Changing employers requires applying for a new visa.

Eligibility for P3 visa:

You are eligible for the P3 visa if you are an individual artist, entertainer or part of a group of artists. The program that brings you to the United States must be culturally unique.

Culturally unique means that the program must be exclusive to a particular country or group of people. This includes:

  • Traditional ethnic presentation or performance
  • Presentation or popular show
  • Presentation or cultural show
  • Presentation or musical performance
  • Presentation or theatrical performance
  • Presentation or artistic performance
  • The program can be commercial or non-commercial. It is also important that your performance or presentation promotes the understanding or development of your art.

Essential support staff of artists or performing groups may also apply. They qualify if they can demonstrate their role in the program.

Documents required for P3 visa:

For your P3 visa application, you need to prepare the following:

  • Form I-129 confirmation page
  • Valid international passport
  • Passport photographs according to the US visa standard
  • Explanatory documents of the event and itinerary. This must include the dates and locations where the event will take place.
  • Document that demonstrates that your performance is culturally unique. This can be published material or reviews from newspapers and magazines.
  • Testimonials, affidavits and letters from renowned industry experts to demonstrate the authenticity of your skills.
  • The consultation document of an appropriate labor organization
  • Contractual document between you and your employer/sponsor
  • The embassy may also request additional documents depending on the program. For support personnel, the sponsor must file a different Form I-129.

Other necessary documents include a written contract, a consultation document and a statement describing the skills and experience of the support staff with the main artist, entertainer or group.

P3 Visa Application Process:

The consultation is the first step of applying for the P3 visa. Your sponsor must consult with an appropriate trade union organization to verify whether the P3 petition will gain approval or not.

Key things to check include:

  • Whether the program is appropriate for P3 classification
  • The cultural uniqueness of the program
  • The cultural uniqueness of the beneficiary’s skills P3
  • If the advisory opinion is negative, they will provide the facts for the objection. Otherwise, they will issue a no objection letter and your sponsor can file the P3 petition with Form I-129.

After filing, USCIS processes the application and issues a decision. If they approve the petition, your sponsor will receive an approval notice.

For your part, you must submit your nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160, online. Pay the application fee and complete all parts of the form. The embassy will not process your application if you do not pay the fees.

  • After submitting your application, you need to make an appointment at the embassy for an interview. It is important to plan as early as possible because workloads at these embassies vary and may determine how long you have to wait before making a decision.
  • Attend the interview with all supporting documents required for the visa application, including the P3 approval notice. Since you already have P3 approval, your DS160 petition should easily gain approval if you meet all the requirements.
  • If you are already in the United States, you can begin participating once your sponsor receives the P3 approval notice.

How much does the P3 visa cost?

Your sponsor will need to pay a $460 filing fee for the Form I-129 filing fee. On your end, you must pay a $190 filing fee for the DS-160 form. You may also have to pay $80 for biometric service if needed.

Residents of some countries pay the visa issuing fee upon approval, and the cost varies. Since most P3 qualifying programs are time-sensitive, your application may require premium processing.

Premium visa processing costs $1,440. Form filing fees and other service fees are non-refundable. However, USCIS will refund the award processing fee if you do not obtain a verdict within 15 days.

P3 Visa Processing Time:

Processing P3 visas typically takes two to eight weeks. But occasionally, it can take a month or three.

However, the processing time will depend on the embassy’s workload and how quickly you schedule an interview. A request for additional evidence may also extend processing times.

Premium processing takes only 15 calendar days.

P3 Visa Dependents:

Your dependents can come with you to the United States by applying for the P4 visa. Eligible dependents include spouses and unmarried children under age 21. Your parents, in-laws or children over the age of 21 are not eligible for P4 dependent visas.

Your dependents can remain in the United States as long as your P3 visa is valid. They cannot work, but can study full-time or part-time. The requirements for applying for the P4 visa include:

  • DS-160 form confirmation page
  • Application fee for Form DS-160
  • International passport
  • International passport and copy of primary relative’s P3 visa or confirmation of Form I-129 if applying together.
  • P3 approval notice
  • Proof of relationship with the P3 visa holder; marriage certificate for spouses and birth certificate for children
  • P4 visa applicants will also attend an interview. Both P3 and P4 candidates can schedule interviews at the same time if they apply together.

If the embassy approves the request, your dependents will be able to travel with or after you. They cannot travel before you. They can extend their visas whenever you extend your P4 visa.

Validity of P3 visa:

P3 visas are valid for the period of time needed to complete the program or event, but will not exceed one year. Your sponsor will declare this when completing Form I-129.

If the benefit lasts more than a year, you will need to request an extension after 12 months. Extensions are granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in increments of one year. Your sponsor must file another Form I-129 to request an extension of stay.

The P3 primary visa’s validity extends to support people and dependents as well. Once your visa expires and your program ends, you will have a 60-day grace period before leaving the United States.

This also holds true if your sponsor has ended the agreement before the deadline. During this time, you may change employees to remain in the United States. Your new employer must obtain a new P3 approval notice on your behalf.


What is the difference between a P1 visa and a P3 visa?

The application procedures are the same for P1 and P3 visas. But whereas P1 visas are meant for athletes and sportsmen, P3 visas are meant for artists and entertainers who are participating in a program that is culturally distinct.

Are there travel restrictions on P3 visas?

USCIS does not impose travel restrictions on P3 visas. You can enter and exit the United States at any time if you have a valid P-3 visa. The sole restriction is that you have to complete a new Form I-129 if you want to work for a different company.

Is P1 better than P3?

The P-1 visa has a higher value than the P3 as it is primarily intended for internationally recognized athletes, artists and entertainers. It doesn’t come with the culturally unique requirement of the P-3 visa, so it’s easier to get if you qualify.

Can a P3 holder get a Green Card?

A P3 visa holder cannot apply for a Green Card immediately. If you want permanent residency, you will need to apply for a change of status to a visa classification that allows for a green card application.

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