What is a P1 Visa?
The P1 Visa is for both nationally and internationally recognised athletes and entertainers. This visa is a non-immigrant visa type, and was created to allow athletes from overseas to enter the US and participate in US athletic programs. It also was created with the intention that it would allow such athletes to promote themselves and their sport in the US.
The visa is also applicable to individuals or groups of entertainers, who are wanting to enter the US to participate in entertainment programs, competitions or other activities.
In order for you to be eligible, you must meet specific criteria of requirements, such as only staying in the US for a temporary period of time and having a sponsor.
The P1 Visa can be split into two categories:
- The P1A Visa which is for individuals or athletic groups that are internationally recognised
- The P1B Visa which is for individuals or groups of entertainers that are internationally recognised
The visa usually only allows a maximum initial stay period of 5 years, however this can vary depending on an individual’s circumstances. The visa can also be extended, but only up to a maximum of 10 years.
In addition to using this visa to perform in entertainment and compete in athletic events, holders are able to partake in part-time study whilst they reside in the US.
Who is Eligible?
This visa can be obtained by any individual or group who are working in the entertainment or sports industry and have international recognition.
Support Personnel who are essential and play a role in the performance of the entertainer or athlete can also be eligible for this visa. This may include trainers, team officials and coaches. Entertainers performing under a culturally unique program are not eligible for this visa and should apply for a P3 Visa.
A holder of a P1 Visa can take part in both sporting and entertainment events. However, if you hold a visa as part of a group, you cannot perform or compete as an individual while in the US.
When applying for a P1 visa, the following criteria must be met:
- The group of team have to have been formed at least one year before the application is submitted
- At least 75% of the members of the group or team must have had a stable place in the group for at least one year
- The activity you are coming into the US to partake in must be internationally recognised
- The individual or group must have a high level of recognition. If part of a group, recognition must be of the group as a whole, and not based on individual achievements of members within the group.
As noted previously, the P1 Visa has two categories, P1A and P1B, and therefore eligibility criteria may differ between the two.
What are the Requirements for a P1A Visa?
For an athlete to obtain a P1A visa, they must have met at least two of the following criteria:
- Participated in a major US sports league
- Participated in a US College, university or intercollegiate sports league
- Participated in a national or international level competition or event
- Been nationally or internationally ranked in a high position
- Obtained a national or international award for their excellence
What are the Requirements for a P1B Visa?
For an entertainer to obtain a P1B visa, they must have met at least two of the following criteria:
- Had major success in records, box office sales, video saled or ratings
- Had achievements outlined in major news outlets or trade journals
- Had recognition from government agencies, critics or other experts in the field who are able to testify to the individual’s or group’s achievements
- Had a high salary and good compensation from the activity that they partake in
How to Apply for a P1 Visa?
Applicants of a P1 Visa need to be sponsored by an employer or organization within the US. The sponsor must file a Form I-129 no more than 6 months before the scheduled performance in the activity that you partake in. In regards to groups, employers are able to submit either a joint application or an individual application for each member.
In addition to the main petition form, the USCIS needs to review the following documents:
- Consultation with an accredited labor organization
- An itinerary of the event
- Evidence that shows the individuals or group’s international reputation
- For groups, proof that they have been formed and established for at least one year
If your petition form is approved, you can then submit a Form DS-160. You will then need to attend an interview to explain the rationale and reasons for your trip to the US.
How Long Does it Take to Get a P1 Visa?
Processing of your Form I-129 for the P1 Visa by the USCIS may take between 2 to 8 weeks on average. If your petition form is approved, you can then immediately submit your DS-160 Form. You will then be required to attend an interview, which you will usually be able to book an appointment for a couple of weeks in advance.
Generally, the processing time for a P1 Visa is between 3 to 6 months. If you require, you can pay for a premium processing time which will allow you to receive a decision within 15 working days.
How Long Can You Stay in the US on a P1 Visa?
Unlike other visas, the P1 Visa does not have a set authorized stay length. Your initial permitted stay is based upon how much time you need to complete the activity in the US which is bringing you into the country.
However, you cannot remain in the US for more than 5 years on the P1 Visa, unless you apply for an extension. This extension can grant you up to 5 more years on top of a 5 year initial stay.
In regards to athletes, individuals can be granted a P1 Visa for a 5 year stay. However, if you apply as part of a group, the maximum time you can initially stay for is 1 year, which can be then extended in 1 year increments.
Individual entertainers of groups will also be granted a P1 Visa for a maximum of a 1 year initial stay period, and can be extended in 1 year increments.
Essential personnel for both athletes and entertainers will have an initial stay of 1 year, but can extend it by up to 5 years to reach a maximum stay time of 10 years on a P1 Visa.
How Can Total Law Help You With a P1 Visa?
Total Law is an established law form that can provide you with assistance and support for a wide range of immigration issues. Total Law has lawyers based in several areas across the United States, but also has the capacity to support remotely. If you need help with an application for a P1 Visa, our attorneys will always be here to help you.
One of our caseworks can have conversations with you about your situation, guide you in the right direction and assess your eligibility for a P1 Visa. If you are eligible, they can also provide help to you throughout your whole application process. They will aid your employer in filling out the Form I-129 Form and help you in your completion of the DS-160 Form.
A vital part of the process is providing proof that you are eligible for the P1 Visa. Your lawyer can work with you to retrieve all the necessary documentation you will need to do this.
For more information about how our lawyers could support you with your P1 Visa application, get in touch today by calling +1 844 290 6312.
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The costs of different elements of the P1 Visa have potential to vary depending on your local US Embassy or Consulate. Currently,
- An F-129 Form filing fee costs $460
- A DS-160 application form costs $190
- A premium process time, if needed, costs $1,225
As the P1 Visa is a nonimmigrant permit, you must always declare your intention to return home once your maximum stay period is over. This can make it quite difficult to obtain a Green Card under this visa.
However, it is not entirely impossible, as there are a few different immigration routes you could take.
You could apply to change your visa status to a H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa or any other immigrant permit. Also, if you have extraordinary ability and can demonstrate it, you can petition to receive a Green Card.
Our attorneys here at Total Law are well suited to advising you which route would be best for you and your situation.
Holders of a P1 Visa are indeed entitled to bring family members with them as dependents. Family members that classify as dependents may include a spouse, or unmarried children of the P1 Visa applicant.
If a non-dependent family members wants to join you in the US, they can apply for a P-4 Visa. They can apply for this at the same time as you apply for your P1 Visa, or after you initial application.