What Is a P Visa?
The P visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which allows foreign nationals who are athletes, artists and entertainers to enter into the U.S. for a certain event, competition or performance.
There are three categories for P visas:
- P-1 visa for athletes and entertainers;
- P-2 visa for artists and entertainers in exchange programs; and
- P-3 visa for culturally unique artists and entertainers.
Who qualifies for a P-1 visa?
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. One of the requirements is that the performer must be of international quality.
Who qualifies for a P-2 visa?
P-2 visas are available to artists or entertainers, either individually or as part of a group, who come to the U.S. to perform under a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and one or more other countries. The applicant will need to prove the legitimacy of the program by presenting a formal, written exchange agreement.
Who qualifies for a P-3 visa?
P-3 visas are available to artists or entertainers who come to the U.S., either individually or as part of a group, to develop, interpret, represent, teach, or coach in a program that is considered culturally unique. The program may be of either a commercial or noncommercial nature.
What are the benefits of applying under this visa category?
The P visa holder can work legally in the U.S. for the P visa sponsor. If, however, the person wants to change jobs, getting a new visa will be necessary. These visas can be issued relatively quickly. P visas are granted for the length of time needed to complete a particular event, tour, or season, 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. P visa holders may also be allowed some extra time for vacation, as well as for promotional appearances and stopovers incidental and/or related to the event. P visa holders may travel in and out of the U.S. or stay continuously for as long as the P visa stamp and status are valid. Additionally, spouse and unmarried children under age 21 may receive P-4 visas to accompany the main P visa holder, but they may not accept employment in the United States.
How can an attorney help in this process?
Documenting P visa petitions requires meeting detailed criteria with proper documentation, which an expert attorney is able to evaluate. Furthermore, a skilled professional is able to determine whether a P visa is the best option or if another visa would be more beneficial.