P3 Visa

The P3 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for artists or entertainers as part of a culturally unique programme. Applicants can apply for entry to the US as an individual or as a member of a performance group.

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    What is the purpose of the P3 Visa?

    According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the visa has been designed for individuals coming to the United States for the purpose of performing, teaching, or coaching in a commercial or non-commercial program that meets the definition of being ‘culturally unique.’

    The P Visa categories are for individuals with an outstanding record of achievement as individual athletes, part of an athletic team, entertainers, artists, or culturally unique groups.

    Some features of the P Visas include the following:

    • The visa holder can work legally in the United States if they are sponsored by an eligible US-based sponsor.
    • There is a relatively short processing time
    • The visa can be issued for the length of the time needed to complete the performance or up to 12 months.
    • The visa holder can travel to and from the United States for the duration of their visa.
    • The main visa holder can apply for dependent P4 Visas on behalf of their spouse or unmarried children.

    This page outlines who can apply for the P3 Visa, eligibility criteria, and the application process. If you are in the process of applying for a P3 Visa and you wish to seek legal advice, contact Total Law for immediate support from a qualified legal advisor.

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    Who can apply for this visa?

    If you wish to apply to this visa, you should be centrally involved in developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching one of the following:

    • Traditional ethnic
    • Folk
    • Cultural
    • Musical
    • Theatrical
    • Artistic performance or presentation

    As well as this, you should be able to demonstrate that your purpose for coming to the U.S. is to participate in a cultural event that contributes to the development of your art.

    The programme you participate in may be commercial or non-commercial in nature.

    An eligible US-based sponsor, employer, agent, or sponsor organisation is required to file a petition on your behalf before you can submit your visa application.

    Evidence for P3 non-immigrant classification

    When the US-based sponsor files Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker, they must submit some of the following forms of evidence to provide proof of why the applicant is entitled to a visa:

    • Affidavits, testimonials, or confirmation letters from industry leaders/ subject matter experts stating that the visa applicants’ or group’s skills are authentic
      • This confirmation must outline the basis of the expert’s knowledge of the person’s or group’s skill level and their credentials
    • Documentary evidence that the person’s or group’s performance is culturally unique
      • This evidence should be in the form of newspaper reviews, journal articles, or other acceptable published materials
    • Further evidence that the intended performances, presentations, or exhibitions in the United States will be culturally unique events

    What is a culturally unique programme?

    A culturally unique programme is one which is traditionally connected to a culture or its history. For example, some individuals on a P3 Visa can show that their art form is hundreds or thousands of years old.

    Some examples of culturally unique artistic events allowed on the P3 Visa include the following:

    • Folk dancers
    • Bagpipers
    • Acrobatic artists
    • Kabuki theatre performers
    • Flamenco dancers
    • Chanson singers
    • Bharatanatyam dancers

    To meet the requirements of being culturally unique, individuals must present evidence of how their art, entertainment, or other activity is an example of cultural significance.

    It can be difficult to define exactly what a ‘culturally unique’ program entails, and if you have questions about your eligibility, it is recommended to discuss this with a qualified immigration solicitor.

    Because of the multifaceted nature of culturally unique activities, USCIS will typically consider these applications on a case-by-case basis.

    How to apply

    As this is a non-immigrant visa with the requirement for a sponsor, the application process is in two stages.

    Step one in the application process

    The U.S.-based employer must do the following:

    1. Read and understand the instructions for Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker
    2. Fill out and sign Form I-129
    3. Pay the filing fees (where relevant)
    4. Submit all the relevant information and supporting documents

    As well as this, to meet the requirements of the visa, your sponsor must also get an advisory opinion from a labor organisation or consulting group.

    Step two in the application process

    After the petition has been filed, USCIS will confirm with the sponsor that the application has been received, outline whether biometric services are required, whether a visa interview is required, and notice of the decision.

    1. Your sponsor must receive a positive decision on your application before you can apply for your visa
    2. You should apply at the U.S. embassy in the UK
    3. Take your notice of approval from USCIS to the consulate in order to get your visa

    What documents do you need?

    To apply for this visa, you will need to submit the following documents with your application:

    • Valid passport or travel document (in date for at least six months after the end of the intended period stay)
    • Form DS-160, Non-Immigrant Visa Application
    • Passport photo aligned with US immigration specifications
    • Letter from US employer confirming the nature of the employment and that the applicant has the required skill level to undertake the performance

    How long does it take to get a P3 Visa?

    If you are applying from the UK, the US embassy in the UK has stated that successful applications may be processed within three to five business days, with another two business days for delivery of your passport. The waiting time for visas can vary considerably based on how busy the UK embassy is.

    Once your sponsor submits your petition and receives a decision, you will be notified if it is accepted and you can proceed with the next stage of the visa application process.

    Depending on where you apply from, you may have the option of selecting the premium processing option to get a quicker decision.

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      Does the P3 Visa lead to a green card?

      The P3 Visa does allow for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident.

      Please note that this is intended for P3 Visa holders who are performers, artists, or entertainers, but does not apply to essential support personnel who perform support services accompanying the primary visa holder.

      Not all US visas allow this, meaning that before your visa interview, you must be prepared to explain your intentions at the expiry of your visa.

      There are other forms of green cards available, including the family-based green card.

      If you wish to come to the US but don’t qualify for a P3 Visa, depending on your circumstances, there may be other visas that are more appropriate for you, including the EB1 Visa, L1 Visa, or the IR1 Visa.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                To get a P3 Visa, you must demonstrate that you meet the following eligibility criteria. These include:

                • You intend to enter the US for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation.
                • You have a clear criminal and immigration record
                • You have a U.S.-based sponsor
                • You can provide the supporting documents needed to apply for the visa.
                • You are successful in your visa interview

                To attend your visa interview, you should use the official website of the relevant US government page to schedule your interview.

                As a petition-based visa, the P3 Visa costs $190 (approximately £138.84).

                There may be additional costs involved in the process, including paying for premium processing (typically $1,225 or £895.29) where relevant, visa issuance costs, and postal costs involved.

                The P3 Visa is issued for the length of the event or alternatively, up to one year.

                If visa applicants meet the eligibility criteria, they may be eligible to extend the visa in increments of one year if they continue to perform or undertake the activity.