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P Visa

      P Visa Arts and Athletics

      Usually qualifies those aliens who are in the fields of arts and athletics and do not qualify for O visa. Accompanying aliens are not permitted in most cases with P visa holders. Also, alien must show that he or she has foreign residence, and have no intention of abandoning his or her residence abroad.

      Usually an athlete who is internationally recognized based on his or her own reputation and achievements, and his essential supporting personnel, coming to the United States to perform services that requires internationally recognized athlete are eligible to classify as P-1.

      P-2 visa is usually accorded to the artists or entertainers and essentially supporting aliens of such artists or entertainers, individually or as a group, who will be performing under a reciprocal exchange program between the organizations abroad and the organizations in the United States.

      P-3 visa classification is usually given to the artists or entertainers that are coming to the United States for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation that is culturally unique. P-4 visas are given to the family of the aliens who are coming into the United States under P-1, P-2, and P-3 visas.

      Usually there are no specific limitations on the period of stay for P visa holders but for the individual P-1 athletes. Individual P-1 athletes, and his essential support personnel are usually admitted for the initial period of five years and of a total up to ten years. All others in P visa category are admitted for the time necessary for the specific competition, event, or performance up to a period of one year, and extensions can be granted in increments of up to one year to continue or complete the same events or activities for which they were admitted. For P visa purposes, a competition, event, or performance means an activity such as an athletic competition, athletic season, tournament, tour, exhibit, project, entertainment event or engagement.

      To obtain P visa, it is required that the petition for P visa must be approved by the USCIS. USCIS to approve P-1 visa for athletes, usually requires evidence of international recognition. Such evidence may include a tendered contract with major U.S. sports league or team, or a tendered contract in an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in that sport, if any, and documentation of at least two of the following:

      In order to qualify for P-1 classification, entertainment groups must be recognized as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time, and seventy-five percent of the members of the group must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least 1 year and must provide functions integral to the group's performance.

      This international recognition and one-year membership requirement is not needed for alien circus personnel who perform as part of a circus or circus group provided that the alien or aliens are coming to join a circus that has been recognized nationally as outstanding for a sustained and substantial period of time or as part of such a circus. Also, director for the USCIS may waive one-year requirement for the alien because of illness or unanticipated and exigent circumstances or when an alien augments the group by performing a critical role.

      Prior to approval of visa petition, consultation requirements as that of O visa must be met. The law requires the submission of an advisory opinion from a labor organization with expertise in an alien’s specific field. If the petition can establish such labor organization does not exist, then USCIS may approve the petition without an advisory opinion. Hence, employers need to remember that obtaining P visa for an alien requires obtaining advisory opinion from the Labor Organization and any evidence showing that such labor organization does not exist; Approval of P visa petition by the USCIS; and the issuance of P visa by the US consulate abroad.

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