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Professional athletes and artists can apply for the P visa to stay in the United States temporarily. It is a non-immigrant visa, unlike the O visas that are granted to foreigners with exceptional skills.

The P visa can be granted individually or for groups (bands, orchestras, dance groups) and sports teams. When an artist is planning a performance or a sportsman a competition in the US

Keep reading and you will find more information about this category of visas, their validity, formalities, requirements, benefits and different types.

Lluis Law immigration lawyers in Los Angeles are specialists in P visas and other types of visas for the United States. If you require guidance on any immigration issue and would like a private consultation, call us now.

What is the P visa?

It is a category of temporary employment visa in the United States, which is given to artists, foreign athletes and their families. Some foreign artists and sportsmen with special abilities and international prestige qualify for this visa, according to the Immigration Law.

The P visa is reserved for professional artists who will be charged for their work. Newcomers do not need this visa to enter the United States. Those must simply apply for a tourist visa. Even if they are citizens of a country with a visa waiver program, they do not require a visa.

But in the case of receiving remuneration for their work, no matter small, they need a P-type American visa. U.S. law considers it a fraud to enter with a tourist visa, for example, and to work without authorization.

If a migration officer suspects that the artist without a P visa intends to charge for his performance, he may be denied entry.

There are four types of P visas for artists and athletes, which are granted according to the applicant and the circumstances. They are visas P1, P2, P3 and P4.

Visa categories P

P1 :

It is a travel visa to the US for athletes and artists who enjoy international recognition in their respective field. The artists applying for the P1 visa must show a minimum of one year of age as members of the group.

People who accompany the artist and are part of the show must also apply for the P1 visa. Annually, the United States grants a maximum of 25,000 P1 visas.

As for the sport, the USA also grants these visas to elite sportsmen and even professional video game players.

For the P1 category, in turn, there are two types of visas:

  • P-1A ​​visa. It is awarded to sportsmen and sports teams that are internationally recognized.
  • P-1B visa. It is granted to entertainment groups with international recognition.

Requirements vary by visa category (P-1A or P-1B).


They are visas for artists (soloists) or members of a cultural group. They are used to allow the entry of people enrolled in cultural exchange programs signed between the US and other countries.

The P2 visa should not be confused with the Q visa, which also serves for cultural exchanges with the foreigner. Nor with the O visa for artists with extraordinary abilities.


It is awarded to artists who are part of a cultural group or are a vital part of the artistic show. Also to people traveling to the United States to teach or train in unique cultural programs.

Unlike the P1 visa, the P3 does not require the artist to be more than one year old with the grouping.

P4 :

Immediate family members accompanying US holders of P1, P2 or P3 visas are granted this visa. That is, spouses and children under 21 years of age. This category of non-immigrant visa does not authorize the holder to work in the country during their stay.

It is a derivative visa that lasts the same time as the P1 visa. If the family is accompanied by a domestic worker, you may apply for the B-1 visa for the employee, in some cases.

P visa requirements

To apply for a P visa, an employer in the US must first apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Service. This is done through Form I-129, Nonimmigrant Worker Petition.

If USCIS approves the request, the US businessman is notified but also the foreign artist hired. The notification is made by the agency to both parties through Form I-797.

At that time the applicant must make the application by following these steps:

  • Digitally complete Form DS-156.
  • Send passport-type photograph (as indicated by the website of the embassy / consulate).
  • Pay the visa application fee which is $ 190. The other charges can be paid by the employer in the United States. The receipts must be kept to be presented on the day of the interview.
  • Schedule an appointment for the interview with the consular officer. For the interview the applicant must carry all the required documents, such as the current passport. Other additional documents may be required.

After submitting the application to USCIS, the processing time for P visa is 3 to 6 months. Although if the employer pays a premium rate of $ 1,225 the P visa can be processed in just 2-3 weeks.

If the applicant for a P / V work visa for athletes / artists works with multiple employers, each must submit a petition to USCIS separately.

P1 visa requirements

The requirements depend on whether the applicant is a team or is made individually.

Individual athletes:

Be an internationally renowned athlete who meets the eligibility requirements to apply for the P-1A visa. This visa is reserved for individual athletes with high levels of skill and international recognition in more than one country.

Sport teams:

If the trip to the United States is to participate in a team competition, it is necessary to demonstrate the international recognition of the athlete’s team. The event in which the foreign team will participate must also be of international prestige.


Artists with international recognition who are part of a group are granted the P-1B visa. If the applicant is an individual artist he does not qualify for the P-1B visa. This visa is designed exclusively for entertainment groups.

Similarly, in order to qualify for this type of visa, the group must enjoy international prestige in its field. In accordance with the eligibility criteria established by USCIS.

For this, a written consultation signed by an appropriate labor-artistic organization must be presented. The document must contain a description of the work or services that the artist will provide in the United States.

It is also advisable to present a description of the artist’s qualification for this work. When there is no proper labor or administrative organization, this requirement is omitted.

You must also submit:

  • Copy of the written contract signed with the artist.
  • Synopsis of the type of event or artistic activity, calendar that includes beginning and ending. Aside from a copy of the itinerary of activities or events.

For more information on this point, please write to us or call our Los Angeles immigration lawyers directly. If you wish, you can come to our offices to discuss any immigration issues you require.

P2 visa requirements

Along with the I-129 form and other general P visa requirements, the following documents must be included:

  • Written consultation issued by a suitable labor organization.
  • Copy of the contract / reciprocal exchange agreement between the US organization and its partner abroad.
  • Statement of the organization sponsoring the event in which the nature of the reciprocal exchange of animators is described.
  • Evidence of the artist’s professional skills and the reciprocity of the terms of the exchange (conditions of employment).
  • Evidence of the involvement of a US labor organization involved in the negotiation.
  • Presentation itinerary if in different locations.

For how long will the artist visa be valid for?

The duration of the P visa depends on who you apply for (athlete / artist).

Individual sportsman. It is granted for a maximum period of 5 years and you can request an extension for another 5 years. After 10 years of residence in the United States under this visa, the holder must leave the country.

Team sportsmen. Team athletes can stay up to 1 year. However, the P visa can be extended for another year several times.

Entertainment groups. The visa also expires every year but can be renewed for an additional period.

How can I get my sports visa?

If you meet all the requirements mentioned above and are a recognized athlete / artist, the odds are high. You must ask the employer to make the initial application and follow the procedure explained step by step.

Can I get a Green Card with a P1 visa?

Although the P1 visa does not provide a direct route to obtain the permanent residence card there are other options. Remember that it is a non-immigrant visa for which the holder agrees to return to his / her country of origin.

However, it is possible to make a status adjustment or get the green card by other means. One is through marriage to an American citizen. The other two options are for a job-based petition or a family petition.

What kind of visa do artists have?

Artists can travel to the US with category O visas or category P visas, as appropriate. Before beginning the process of any of these visas it is advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer.

Any error in filling out forms or with the other required documents can lead to the visa being denied.

Remember that Lluis Law attorneys can help you with all US P visas procedures. If you are an artist or professional player, call us with confidence and we will advise you on a confidential consultation.

We always offer our clients different options available to obtain the Green Card or US citizenship by naturalization.