P-1 Visa Qualifications

The P-1 Visa classification is for those individuals who are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.

P-1 visas is available for those applicants who are members of entertainment groups, individual athletes, or members of athletic teams that have been internationally recognized as outstanding for a long and continuous period of time.

Requirements under the P-1 visa categories:

There are requirements for two separate categories, either under: Athletes, or Entertainers.

  1. Athletes
    1. You or your team must have an internationally recognized reputation in the sport. Evidence of this may include a contract with a major U.S. sports league, team, or international sporting event, and
    2. At least two (2) of the following six (6) categories:
      1. Evidence that you, or your team’s, previous significant participation with a major U.S. sports league;
      2. Evidence of participation in an international competition with a national team;
      3. Evidence of your previous significant participation with a U.S. college in intercollegiate competition;
      4. A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or the governing body of the sport, detailing how you or your team is internationally recognized;
      5. Other evidence that you or your team is internationally ranked; or
      6. Evidence that you or your team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.
  2. Entertainers
    1. P-1 visas are not available to individual entertainers, but only to groups with international reputations. Evidence of this participation must be shown as follows:
      1. Evidence that your group has been performing regularly for at least one year;
      2. A statement listing each member of your group and the exact dates each has been regularly employed by the group;
      3. Evidence of your group’s nomination for, or receipt of, significant international awards or prizes, OR at least three of the following:
        1. performed or will perform as a lead/starring entertainment group in productions/events with distinguished reputations as show by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
        2. national/international recognition for achievements through critical reviews, other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major papers, trade journals, magazines, etc.;
        3. performance as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by media articles, testimonials, etc.;
        4. record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
        5. achievement of significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies, and/or recognized experts;
        6. commanded, or will command, a high salary/other remuneration in relation to others in the field.
    2. Applicants in entertainment companies must have been an integral part of the group for at least one year. Yet, if the necessity arises, up to 25% of members may be excused from the one-year clause. The one-year clause may also be waived in exceptional situations, where due to illness or other unanticipated circumstances, a critical performer is unable to travel. The one-year clause does not apply to circus personnel, including performers.

P-1A Individual Athletes Eligibility Criteria

You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.

P-1B Athletic Teams Eligibility Criteria

Athletic Teams Eligibility Criteria

You must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.

P-1 Visa Benefits

  • You can legally work in the U.S. for your sponsor.
  • P-1 visas are typically issued quickly.
  • You may travel in and out of the U.S. as long as your visa stamp and status are valid.
  • Visas are available for immediate family members (spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age).

P-1 Visa Restrictions

You may work only for the employer that sponsored you. If you change jobs, you must obtain a new visa.
Immediate family members are allowed to stay in the U.S. with you, but may not work.

Validity of a P-1 Visa

The validity of the P-1 visa varies, as visa holders are admitted for the time necessary to complete their event, competition, or performance. Individual athletes may remain in the U.S. for up to ten years.

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