The P visa presents a wonderful opportunity for certain athletes, entertainers, artists and their essential entourage for admission into the United States.
The P-1 Visa: While individual athletes are eligible, individual members of the entertainment industry are not eligible for a P-1 visa.
Another seemingly unfair difference between the treatment of individuals in the art and entertainment industry v. individual athletes is that P-1 visas for entertainment are issued for specific events only, while individual athletes may be admitted for up to five years and an athletic team may be admitted as a group for a up to six months.
Still, there are other variations of the P visa that may offer opportunities to individual artist and entertainers under the P-2 visa and P-3 visa schemes – see below:
The P-2 Visa: This classification applies to an alien who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, or as an integral part of the performance of such a group, and who seeks to perform under a reciprocal exchange program which is between an organization or organizations in the United States and an organization or organizations in one or more foreign states, and which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.
The P-3 Visa: classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is “culturally unique.”
General Requirements for a P Visa
Generally you must have a qualified sponsor to petition the Department of homeland Security / USCIS on your behalf. However, the agency recognizes that many qualified individuals are essentially self-employed or rely on an arrangement with an agent to schedule and arrange their events. In such cases your agent may file the petition.
If approved by USCIS may I immediately travel to the United States?
No. Once your P-visa petition is approved by USCIS you will then be required to apply for the actual nonimmigrant visa at the US Embassy or consular having jurisdiction over your case.
May my spouse and children travel and stay in the U.S. with me?
Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply to accompany or join you in the United States. While you obtain P-1, P-2 or P-3 visa status, your eligible relatives will obtain P-4 visas. If approved they may remain with you for the period of your authorized stay.
May my derivative P-4 family members work in the United States?
No, derivative relatives of the primary beneficiary of an approved P visa may not work in the United States unless they independently qualify, apply and are approved for an employment visa.