Type P Visa
The type P visas are for foreign nationals looking to temporarily work in he US for industries including sports, entertainment and art. There are different types of P visa to cover the specific eligibility of each one:
P-1A – This visa is for athletes who are visiting the US to perform in a competition. The eligibility for this type of visa is strict and requires the applicant to be a professional athlete, an athlete recognized at international level or an athlete or coach performing as part of a team or franchise in the US and who is a member of a foreign league or association.
P-1B – This type of visa is for members of entertainment groups from foreign-based groups looking to perform in the US. This could include circus groups, for example and the group must be internationally recognized as outstanding in their discipline.
P-2 – Performers or groups under an exchange program can apply for a P-2 visa, where there is a reciprocal exchange program arrangement between an organization in the US and one in another country to allow groups to enter the US. Support personnel are also able to apply for P-2 visas. The P-2 is valid for a maximum of one year only.
P-3– A visa that is for entertainers or artists that will be in the US as part of a culturally unique program. The eligibility criteria includes individuals or groups that develop, interpret, represent, teach or coach a unique or traditional cultural/artistic expression activities. It must be unique to a particular tribe, nation, religion or similar and supporting personnel are able to apply for a P-3 visa also. The P-3 is valid for a maximum of one year.
P-4 – The P-4 visa is available for dependents of any holder of the P1, P2 or P3 visas. This relates to the spouse and any unmarried children who are under the age of 21. This type of visa does not allow the spouse to be employed in the US, although they may be eligible to apply for a different type of visa that will allow them to work.
Application process for P visas
The US employer will firstly need to file the Form I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker.
The P1, P2 and P3 visas all require specific evidence and documents to help the authorities to make the decision regarding whether the applicant meets the eligibility criteria. This could be a written consultation from the relevant labor organization, for example.
If the petition is approved then the holder will be given permission to stay in the US for the length for the activity or performance for up to a maximum of 1 year. In circumstances where the event is for longer than 1 year, an extension can be applied for by submitting another Form I-129.