How to Apply for a P-1 Visa as an Internationally Recognized Athlete

P-1A visa for runners

P-1A visa for runners

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When does the P-1 visa classification apply to you?

 The P-1 classification applies to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. Since P visa workers must seek to enter the U.S. temporarily they are required to have a residence abroad that they don’t intend to abandon.

 What are the individual athlete’s eligibility criteria for a P-1 visa?

You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.

What are the athletic team’s eligibility criteria for a P-1 visa?

You must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.

What is the application process for a P-1 visa?

To come to the United States your U.S. employer must file a petition  accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation. Please note a petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent.. The U.S. employer must submit a consultation from an appropriate labor organization. The consultation must describe the work or services to be performed in the United States and your qualifications for such work. If no appropriate labor organization exists, this requirement is excused. Although obtaining a P visa can take several months premium processing is available.

When is application made for a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for the P-1 visa?

Once the visa petition is approved, you can apply at a U.S. embassy  or consulate.

How long is the initial duration of stay on a P-1 visa?

It is important to have a detailed schedule of events and the longer the schedule of events, the longer the admission will be.

Individual Athlete – Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 5 years

Athletic Group – Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year

Essential Support Personnel  – Time to complete the event, activity, or performance, may not exceed 1 year

Are extension of stay permitted on a P-1 visa?

Individual Athlete –Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance. Total stay is limited to 10 years.

Athletic Group – Increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.

Essential Support Personnel –  Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance. Total stay is limited to 10 years.

Can I change employers on a P-1 visa?

You may change employers, but only after your new employer has filed a petition and it has been approved.

What about the family of P-1 visa recipient?

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 status.  Your dependents may not engage in employment, but may attend school or college.

 Last updated: 05/04/2010

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