The P categories are for those intending to come to the U.S. to perform in athletics or entertainment. P visa holders are often admitted according to the duration of a specific competition, event, or performance.
P-1 nonimmigrant visas are available for renowned Athletes (and their essential support personnel) to perform at a specific athletic event, competition or performance as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. While individual athletes may be granted stay in five (5) year increments for a maximum of 10 years, athletic groups may be granted stay in increments of up to only one (1) year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.
P-2 visas are available for Artists or Entertainers, individually or as part of a group, who will enter the U.S. temporarily to perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country.
P-3 Visas are reserved for Artists or Entertainers (or experts/specialists) entering the U.S. to participate in a Culturally Unique Program. The P-3 visa is available for foreign nationals coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform, teach, or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group under a commercial or non-commercial program that is culturally unique: “culturally unique” has been defined as a style or artistic expression, methodology, or medium which is unique to a particular country, nation, society, class ethnicity, religion, tribe, or other group of persons.
The P-3 visa petition must be filed by the sponsoring organization or a U.S. employer. Support personnel of the P-3 visa petition may also file for a P-3 visa.
When applying for the P-3 visa, specific documentation must be filed and is required of all applicants as follows:
- Evidence of the cultural uniqueness of all the performances or presentations by the artist or entertainer. This evidence can be provided by presenting reviews in newspapers, journals or other published materials; and
- Affidavits, testimonials, or letters from recognized experts attesting to the authenticity of the individual’s or the group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching or teaching the unique or traditional art form.
Essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P-3 artist or entertainer and who perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker, are eligible for P-3 classification. Support personnel may include coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials and referees. The U.S. employer must also file comprehensive documentation in support of the support personnel’s application.
Period of Stay
A petition for an artist or entertainer is valid for the duration needed to complete the event, activity or performance, but must not exceed one year, however you may seek an extension on your visa, and the duration of your stay may be granted in increments up to one year. The extension of time will only be granted in order to continue or complete the original event, activity or performance and cannot be requested for frivolous reasons.
During the period of stay, you may change your employer, but only after your new employer has filed a Form I-129 with USCIS requesting permission to employ you and extend your stay. You may not commence employment with the new employer until the Form I-129 has been approved.
Family of P-3 Visa Holders
Family members of P-3 non-immigrants are eligible to apply for P-4 status. This means that spouses and minor children can accompany the P-3 holder to the U.S. The family members may attend school or college and study in the U.S. However, it is important to note that P-4 holders are not permitted to legally work while in the U.S.