The P nonimmigrant category is reserved for athletes (who compete individually or as part of a team),
artists, or entertainers seeking admission to the United States for a specific event or performance.
There are several types of P visas (P-1, P-2 and P-3). All must generally meet the standard of
"internationally recognized" meaning "a high level of achievement in the 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."
Individual Athletes & Entertainers
Athletes: The standard is "international recognition," which is a somewhat lesser
standard than for O-1 athletes who must show "sustained national or international
acclaim." A petition must include evidence of at least two of the following:
- Significant participation in a prior U.S. major league season
- Participation in international competition with a national team
- Significant participation in a prior U.S. college/university season in intercollegiate competition
- Written statement from a major U.S. sports league or official of the sport's governing body
detailing the alien's or team's international recognition
- Written statement from the sports media or recognized expert
- International ranking
- Significant honors or awards in the sport
Entertainers: P-1 visa may be granted to members of an entertainment group provided
the group has been recognized internationally as outstanding for a sustained
period of time. Each member of the group must have had sustained a substantial
relationship with the group for at least one year and be entering the US solely
for the purpose of performing with that group. A petition must include
evidence that the group has met at least three of the following:
- Has or will perform as a starring or leading
entertainment group in productions or events with distinguished reputations
- International acclaim and recognition for outstanding achievements
- Has or will perform as a starring or leading group for
organizations with distinguished reputations
- Record of commercial or critically acclaimed successes
- Significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies or
other recognized experts
- Has commanded or will command a high salary or substantial remuneration in comparison
to others similarly situated
This applies to artists and performers who perform individually or as part of
a group, pursuant to a reciprocal exchange program between two or more U.S.
organizations and one or more of such organizations in other countries providing
for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.
Culturally unique artists and entertainers, individually or as a group, coming to the
U.S. to develop, interpret, represent, coach or teach their particular art or discipline.
"Culturally unique" means an artistic style unique to a particular nation, country, society, class,
ethnicity, religion, tribe or other group of persons. Activities or events may be commercial or
noncommercial. Evidence to support a P-3 petition must include:
- Affidavits or testimonials or letters from recognized experts attesting to the
authenticity of the group or individual entertainer; or,
- Documentation that performance of the alien or group is culturally unique; and,
- Evidence that all performances or presentations will be culturally unique events.
All P categories permit "essential support" personnel. Admission for all P categories is
limited to a specific performance, competition or event, defined as an athletic competition or
season, tournament, tour, exhibit, project, entertainment event or engagement.
Peer group consultation for all P categories is mandatory before any P petition can be approved.
Period of admission
- P-1: individual athletes, up to five years
- P-2/P-3: up to the time needed to complete event, not to exceed one year
- Support Personnel: up to one year
Petitioner is liable for reasonable cost of return transportation abroad after the event concludes.