Introduction to the P-1 & P-3 Visas and Basic Requirements

Sometimes, your business needs the skills of a performer or artist who is not a U.S. citizen. In these cases, the P-1 or the P-3 visas can be your best option because they allow foreigners with specific skills sets to enter the United States to work in the entertainment or sporting industries.

Here is the basic information you need to know about the P-1 visa and the P-3 visa.

The P-1 Visa Lets Foreign Athletes and Entertainers Perform in the U.S.

The P-1 visa is for athletes and entertainers from other countries who want to compete or perform in the United States. Additionally, supporting staff can also use the P-1 visa to enter the U.S.

However, there are numerous important limitations to the P-1 visa.

Internationally Recognized Level of Performance

The P-1 visa only allows foreigners to enter the U.S. to compete or perform in events that are recognized on an international level. This limits P-1 visas to athletes and performers who are at or near the top of their game. For athletes, this also means that the sport has to be something that other countries compete in.

Individuals and Groups, and Visa Duration

When a foreign athlete competes in an individual sport, like tennis or swimming, then they need to be competitive at the top of their sport. These individual P-1 visas can be valid for up to 5 years. However, if the athlete is competing alongside others in a team sport, like soccer, it is the team that petitions for the athlete's P-1 visa, and it is the team that needs to be internationally recognized, not the individual athlete. These P-1 visas are valid for the duration of the event, or up to 1 year.

For performers, the P-1 visa is only an option if it is an entertainment group: Individual performers are ineligible for a P-1 visa.

P-3 Visas Let Culturally Significant Entertainers or Artists into the U.S.

The P-3 visa is for artists, performers, or entertainers whose work is “culturally unique.” This visa is for these artists to come to the U.S. to teach or perform their work or artistic endeavor, either individually or as a group, in the U.S. for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Support personnel can also use the P-3 visa to enter the U.S., so long as they are an integral part of the performance or work.

Basic Requirements for P-1 and P-3 Visas

For businesses that need these types of foreign talent, the application process for both the P-1 and P-3 visas begin with the I-129 Form. However, the two types of visas each require a different set of supporting documentation to show that the foreign talent is truly unique and that your organization's need is legitimate.

Providing this supporting documentation can be tricky, and often requires the help of a skilled entertainment lawyer to make sure it goes smoothly. Contact Mohsen Parsa for the legal help you need.