About the P Visa Category
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There are five distinct types of non-immigrant visas in the P category, and what they all have in common is the fact that they are for foreign nationals who are internationally recognized in specific fields of entertainment. The first step in obtaining a P visa is for an employer or sponsoring organization in the United States to file a Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary for the employer to secure a consultation from a labor organization describing the type of work that will be performed during the visa stay and affirming that the individual is qualified to perform such work.
Types of P Visas
- P-1A - Internationally Recognized Athlete
This visa is intended for athletes who have reached an internationally recognized level of performance and who are planning to visit the United States for the purpose of taking part in a specific athletic competition. The athlete's skill must be internationally recognized to be significantly greater than the average level in the sport. The P-1A visa is available both to individual athletes and to athletes who are travelling to the U.S. as part of a team. This type of visa allows an individual athlete to remain for up to five years on an initial stay or up to ten years with extensions, while a team can stay for up to one year with the possibility of extensions in one-year increments.
- P-1B - Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group
To qualify for this type of visa, you must demonstrate that at least three-quarters of your group has had a sustained and substantial relationship for a minimum period of one year, and your group must have achieved recognition and acclaim on an international level. The P-1B visa allows the group members to remain in the United States for as long as is necessary for the event or performance, but this period cannot exceed one year.
- P-2 - Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program
If you are planning to travel to the United States with the purpose of participating in a government-recognized reciprocal exchange program, then you may be eligible for the P-2 visa. This type of visa does not require that you possess extraordinary ability or that you have achieved international recognition, but it is necessary demonstrate that your skills be comparable to those of the U.S. artists or entertainers in the exchange program. You can stay in the U.S. for up to one year with a P-2 visa and you may be able to stay longer by petitioning for an extension of your visa. The P-2 visa additionally allows you to bring essential support personnel, provided that their services are integral to your performance.
- P-3 - Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program
The P-3 visa is for performers who are participating in some type of culturally unique program, such as performing or teaching the musical or artistic traditions of their home country. The purpose of the P-3 visa is to foster the exchange and understanding of world cultures, and the performance may be for pay or of a non-commercial nature.
- P-4 - Family Members of other P-category visa holders
This category pertains to spouses and unmarried children younger than the age of 21 years old. The P-4 visa permits the holder to pursue education in a school or a university but does not allow the individual to secure any type of employment.
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