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P Visas for Performers


The United States offers employment-based visas for a variety of occupations, but many of these are difficult to get and require you to get and keep employment with a particular employer.  Of course, professional sports and the performing arts are a world of their own.  Therefore, it makes sense for professional athletes and artistic performers to have their own visa category, separate from those of employees who come to the United States to work at salaried jobs.  For help applying for a P visa for yourself or a group of athletes or performers with which you are associated, a Mississauga U.S. immigration lawyer.

What Are the Different Categories of P Visas?

USCIS offers four different categories of P visas:

  • P-1 visas are for professional and competitive athletes who will be participating in an athletic competition or tournament in the United States. Depending on the sport, the P visa could go to an individual athlete or to all the members of a sports team.
  • P-2 visas are for groups of performers who perform together, such as an orchestra, a choir, or the cast of a play that is participating in a cultural exchange.
  • P-3 visas are for individual performing artists or musical groups that are internationally known. For example, a rock band that is playing several concerts in the United States as part of an international tour would apply for a P-3 visa.
  • P4 visas are for the spouses and minor children of people who hold P-1, P-2, or P-3 visas.

Support personnel such as orchestra conductors, coaches, sound technicians, and stagehands can get P visas of the same category as the athletes or performers that they are accompanying.

How Long Are P Visas Valid?

P visas are valid for one year.  Visa holders may enter the United States multiple times during the year, or they may remain continuously in the United States.

What About P Visas for the Family Members of Performers?

The spouses of athletes, performers, and support personnel who receive P visas are eligible for a P-4 visa, as are the visa holder’s children under the age of 21.  P-4 visas do not enable the visa holder to work in the United States.

How Do You Demonstrate to USCIS That You Are Nationally or Internationally Famous?

The USCIS personnel who review your P visa application may know little about the sport that you play or about the music of your country and your language.  Therefore, you should include supporting documentation with your visa application.  If you have a large fan base in your home country or region, include media coverage of your previous concerts and tours, as well as YouTube videos of your songs that have many views.  For athletes applying for P-1 visas, include documentation of other competitions in which you have participated.  If you work in a musical style that is not widely known in the United States, you may wish to include a letter from an expert, such as a professor of music, about the cultural uniqueness of your music.

Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP About Performer Visas

An immigration lawyer can help you get a P visa to participate in an athletic or musical event in the United States.  Contact Zagazeta Garcia LLP in Mississauga, Ontario to discuss your case.




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