P1-A Visa (Athlete Visa)

Foreign nationals who are talented athletes might be eligible for the P1-A Visa, also known as the Athlete Visa. Holders of the P1-A Visa have the right to come to the US temporarily for work.

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    What is the P-1A Visa?

    The P-1A Visa is intended for internationally recognized professional or amateur athletes who want to come to the US to perform in an athletic competition or event.

    The following categories of individuals can apply for P-1A Visa:

    • Athletes or teams of athletes who are internationally recognized for their level of performance
    • Professional athletes
    • Athletes or coaches who belong to a team or franchise located in the United States and who are also members of a foreign association
    • Athletes or teams of athletes who perform in a specific theatrical ice-skating production or tour

    To be able to obtain the P1-A Visa, applicants must be able to prove their international recognition.

    Those who successfully apply for the P1-A Visa have the right to come to the US and remain there for as long as it takes to complete an athletic event or performance provided that this does not exceed 5 years.

    Holders of the P-1A Visa have the right to bring their immediate family members to the US with them under the P4 Visa for dependents of P visa holders.

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    What are the eligibility requirements for the P1-A Visa?

    Foreign athletes who want to obtain the P1-A Visa must meet several eligibility requirements. These are different for each category of athletes who qualify to apply for the P1-A Visa.

    For internationally recognized individual athletes who plan to come to the US to take part in an athletic competition, the requirements are:

    • The applicant must be internationally recognized as having a high level of degree of skill compared to other athletes
    • The applicant must be well-known in more than one country
    • The applicant must be coming to participate in a competition with a distinguished reputation

    Internationally recognized athletic teams who wish to get the P1-A Visa must be coming to take part in a competition that has a distinguished reputation.

    Those wanting to come to the US to work as professional athletes must meet the following criteria:

    • Belong to a team that is a part of an association of six or more professional sports teams which have a total combined annual revenue of USD 10 million or more
    • Belong to a minor league team which is affiliated with a professional association.

    Amateur athletes or coaches planning to come to the US for an athletic performance must be part of a team which is located in the US and is a member of either a foreign league or association. To qualify them for the ​​P1-A Visa, the foreign league or association must meet the following requirements:

    • Consist of at least 15 amateur sports teams
    • Consists of the highest level of amateur athletes in a certain sport
    • Include a significant number of athletes who are later drafted by a major sports league or minor league affiliate

    Finally, theatrical ice skaters who want to obtain the P1-A Visa must be coming to the US to participate in a specific theatrical ice-skating production or tour. They can be coming either individually or in a group and can qualify for the P1-A Visa regardless of whether they are professional or amateur skaters.

    If you are an athlete and you are considering applying for the P1-A Visa, get in touch with our lawyers. They can assess your individual situation and help you determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements.

    What is the application process for the P1-A Visa?

    To be able to get the P1-A Visa, foreign athletes must have a US sponsor who initiates the application process by submitting Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker on their behalf. If the sponsor is submitting the petition for a team, they can file a group petition rather than completing a different form for each athlete.

    The sponsor must also pay the application fee and submit the required supporting documents. Documents that the sponsor must provide include:

    • Written consultation from a labor organization that describes what kind of work the athlete will be doing in the US and what qualifications are required for it
    • Letter from a labor organization stating that there is no objection to the visa petition
    • Copies of contracts with teams or leagues in the US
    • Overview of activities the athlete will participate in (with dates and estimated duration)
    • Evidence that the athlete is internationally recognized

    Once the petition is approved, the process is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC).

    To proceed, the athlete must submit Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and they must pay the P1-A Visa application fee. In the online application form, the athlete must provide personal details and explain why they want to come to the US.

    After submitting the online application, the athlete must schedule and attend a visa interview at a US Embassy or US Consulate in their home country.

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      How can applicants prove international recognition?

      To be able to obtain the P1-A Visa, applicants must provide evidence that confirms their international recognition. Documents they can use to demonstrate it are different for each category of athletes who qualify to apply for the P1-A Visa.

      Internationally recognized individuals or teams must submit a copy of a contract with either a major US sports league or team, or a contract to perform at an internationally recognized event distinguished in their sport. In addition to that, they need to provide at least 2 of the following:

      • Proof of having previously participated in events with a major US sports league
      • Proof of having previously participated in an international competition with a national team
      • Proof of having previously participated in an intercollegiate competition between US colleges or universities
      • Written statement from a major US sports league or team explaining how the athlete or team is internationally recognized
      • Written statement from an expert or sports media official explaining how the athlete or team is internationally recognized
      • Details of any international rankings
      • Details of any awards the athlete or team have received in their sports field.

      Amateur athletes or coaches must provide evidence confirming the level of performance of the US league or association they will be performing with once in the country. To prove it, they can use reviews, articles, or reports from established sports media outlets, as well as contracts and other documents detailing the level of performance of those who belong to the team.

      Professional athletes must submit the following:

      • Evidence showing that they will be working for a US-based team or league that is a member of an association comprised of six or more professional sports teams (for example contracts or letters from the representatives of the league)
      • Proof that the combined total revenue of the associated teams is at least USD10 million per year (for example financial audits or tax documents)
      • Evidence confirming that the association governs the conduct of its members (for example official rules of the association)
      • Proof that the minor league team has a qualifying association (applicable to those who will be working for a minor league team affiliated with an association)

      Theatrical ice skaters must submit evidence confirming that the purpose of their visit to the US is to perform in a theatrical production. To prove it they can use an itinerary or schedule of planned performances, or details of their past accomplishments and awards.

      Our lawyers can help you gather all the necessary documents. Thanks to their help, you can be sure that the evidence you include in your application is sufficient and proves your international recognition.

      What are the costs and the processing times?

      Those who want to apply for the P1-A Visa must pay the following fees:

      • USD460 for the Form I-129 filing fee
      • USD190 for the DS-160 Application form fee
      • Visa issuance fees that vary depending on the location of the US Embassy or Consulate where the visa was issued

      Those whose visa application is urgent can pay an additional USD2,500 for premium processing which shortens the processing time.

      There might also be additional costs that applicants must cover if they wish to bring essential support personnel to the US under the P-1S Visa.

      As for the waiting time, the whole process typically takes between 3 to 6 months.

      USCIS usually processes Form I-129 within 2 to 8 weeks. The applicant must wait until the petition is approved to be able to proceed with the application process and submit the DS-160 Form. After they submit the form they must also schedule their visa interview.

      Applicants who would like to use the premium processing option must submit Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. Those who decide to do it receive a decision within 15 working days.

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        At Total Law, we have a team of experienced immigration lawyers who have helped many clients successfully obtain various visas to the US, including the P1-A Visa.

        They can assess your circumstances and help you determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements. If so, they can guide you through the application process, making it straightforward and stress-free. They can also answer all your questions and clear any doubts you might have.

        Thanks to the professional assistance of our lawyers, you can make sure that your case is as strong as possible.

        Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 to find out more about how our team can help.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Individual athletes receive the P1-A Visa valid for the time needed to complete the athletic event or performance in the US. This cannot be longer than 5 years but holders of the P1-A Visa have the right to renew it for an additional 5 years. However, the maximum amount of time they can spend in the US on the P1-A Visa is 10 years.

                  Groups of athletes also receive the P1-A Visa valid for the time needed to complete the athletic event or performance in the US. However, this period of time cannot be longer than 1 year. After the visa expires, groups of athletes who need more time in the US can renew it for an additional year.

                  Athletes who successfully obtain the P1-A Visa have the right to bring their immediate family members to the US with them under the P4 Visa.

                  The P4 Visa is intended for spouses and dependent children of P visa holders. It allows them to come to the US to live with their family member who holds a P Visa such as the P1-A Visa.

                  Those who come to the US on the P4 Visa can stay in the country for as long as the visa of the principal P visa holder is valid.

                  Essential support personnel who wants to come to the US to assist an athlete might be eligible to join them under the P-1S Visa. To be able to do it, they must prove that they are an integral part of the performance of the athlete and that their duties cannot be carried out by a US worker.

                  For essential support personnel to get the P-1S Visa, the US sponsor of the athlete must file a separate Form I-129 for them. The sponsor must also provide a written statement describing what the essential support personnel is responsible for and what expertise they have.

                  Examples of essential support personnel include coaches, referees, interpreters, or trainers.