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P Visas

P visas are reserved for elite figures such as athletes and entertainers who are internationally recognized based on their high…

P visas are reserved for elite figures such as athletes and entertainers who are internationally recognized based on their high level of achievement in their respective artistic and/or entertainment fields. Additionally, there are categories of P visas that allow for “culturally unique” entertainers via certain exchange programs. P visa holders give U.S. citizens the opportunity to learn more about and participate in unique expressions of art, entertainment, and athleticism from across the globe.

Types of P Visas

P visas come in a variety of categories. There are P visas for internationally recognized athletes, entertainers, members of entertainment groups, and their dependents, as well as ones for those supporting individuals with P visas. Below is a description of each type of P visa:

  • P-1 Visas: P-1A visas are for internationally recognized athletes and/or coaches who are a part of a team or franchise within the U.S. Examples include professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, Olympic athletes, and the like. P-1B visas are for individuals who are an essential part of a performance and/or a part of an international group that has been recognized as extraordinary for at least one year in most instances. This is specifically for those performing and/or traveling as a group.
  • P-2 Visas: This visa is for entertainers in a group or individuals who are essential personnel of the group, who perform under a specific exchange program with another organization in the U.S. This exchange must be equal as it relates to the caliber of the entertainers, number of group members, time employed, and compensation.
  • P-3 Visas: P-3 visas are for individuals or groups of artist/entertainers as well as their needed support staff who are visiting the U.S. to help to introduce, teach or develop a unique performance. This can include many types of performances such as musical, cultural, ethnic, theatrical, etc. There are no regulations on the length of time that the group must be together.
  • P-4 Visas: This visa is for the family members and spouses of P visa holders.

Extending P Visas

In most instances, P visas can be extended. The amount of time granted for an extension will depend on which P visa the applicant currently holds. To be approved for an extension, an applicant must maintain the same qualifications initially required, as well as provide proof of additional work/shows in the U.S. Some P visas can only be extended for a year at a time, but classifications such as the P-1 can be extended for up to five years at a time, although it cannot exceed 10 years overall.

Change of Employer

P visa holders are permitted to change their employer. For example, if an internationally acclaimed and recognized music group changes from one U.S. management company to another, they can have their P-1 transferred. However, the new employer will be required to file a new Form I-129, and the beneficiary will not be allowed to start working for the new employer until the form has been approved by the USCIS.

Those applying for P visas are typically at the top of their respective fields. One misstep in the application and/or petition process can unnecessarily delay its approval. This potential delay can result in missed shows and subsequent loss of funds. To help avoid this potentially devastating consequence, it is best to work with an immigration attorney who is experienced, knowledgeable, and expedient.

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