P1 Visa for Athletes
1. Description of P classification
P1 classification applies to an alien who is coming temporarily to theUnited States:
- To perform at specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level or performance.
- An essential support worker for the athlete.
“Internationally recognized” means having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well- known in more than one country.
2. Filing of P petitions (employer/agent required)
P1 petition for an athlete must be filed by one of the following:
- a United States employer—this means aU.S. company that wants to give the athlete a job and pay the athlete a salary.
- a United States agent—this means a U.S.company or individual who represents the athlete’s interests. The agent can manage the athlete’s money and/and pay the athlete a salary like an employer OR the agent can simply represent the athlete in dealing with one or more employers (such as tournament sponsors, professional tours).
- a foreign employer through a United States agent—In some cases, the athlete works for a foreign company or is self-employed outside theU.S. AnU.S.company or individual can file a visa application for the athlete as a representative of the athlete’s foreign employer (which may be the athlete himself or herself, if the athlete is self-employed outside theU.S.). When this happens, the agent is the representative of the athlete ONLY for immigration purposes and does NOT assist the athlete in other ways (scheduling, fee negotiation, etc.). For athletes who are self-employed outside the U.S., we can sometimes suggest a company that will serve as the agent of the athlete for immigration purposes only under this provision.
- A United States sponsoring organization—this is an organization that will not employ the athlete but will assume the responsibility for the accuracy of the terms and conditions specified in the petition.
The person who files the application on your behalf is called the “petitioner.”
3. Evidence required for a P Visa application
The P1 visa application for an athlete must include the following information:
- Copies of any written contracts between the petitioner and the athlete or, if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien(s) will be employed;
- An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities; and
- A written consultation from a labor organization (e.g. players union), if such an organization exists.
In addition, the application must show that the athlete has achieved international recognition in the sport based on his or her reputation. To prove this, the application must include:
- A tendered contract with a major United States sports league or team, or a tendered contract in an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in that sport, if such contracts are normally executed in the sport, and
- Documentation of at least two of the following:
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season with a major United States sports league;
- Evidence of having participated in international competition with a national team;
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season for a U.S.college or university in intercollegiate competition;
- A written statement from an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
- A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
- Evidence that the individual or team is ranked if the sport has international rankings; or
- Evidence that the alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.
A P1 Visa for an Essential Support Worker (such as an athlete’s coach or trainer) must include:
- A consultation from a labor organization with expertise in the area of the support worker’s skill;
- A statement describing the support worker’s prior essentiality, critical skills, and experience with the athlete; and
- A copy of the written contract or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement between the support worker and the employer.
4. Validity Dates
- An approved petition for an individual athlete can be valid for a period up to 5 years, but usually will be issued only for the duration of the event, season, or tournament schedule. An approved petition for an athletic team can be valid for a period of time determined by the government that is necessary to complete the competition or event for which the alien team is being admitted, not to exceed 1 year.
5. Spouse and dependents
The spouse and unmarried minor children of a P-1 athlete are entitled to P-4 nonimmigrant classification, subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the athlete. Neither the spouse nor a child of the alien beneficiary may accept employment.