If you are traveling to the United States for the purpose of performing in an athletic competition, you may qualify for a P1 visa. The term of a P1 visa is typically based on the competition schedule or planned performance. However, the maximum stay allowed is five years with the possibility of an extension for a maximum of ten years. So exactly how long does it take to get a P1 visa in 2020? The average processing time is between three and six months unless you pay extra for premium processing which can get you a response within 15 days.
P1 Classification and Who Qualifies
The P1 is a specialty visa exclusively designed for foreign athletes and other entertainers, as well as their coaches and support staff. You may qualify for a P1 visa if you are:
- A professional athlete.
- An individual athlete who is internationally-recognized for your athletic performance.
- An athlete or coach that is part of a franchise or team located in the U.S., as well as a member of a foreign association or league.
You may also qualify for a P1 visa if you are traveling to the United States temporarily to partake in a specific theatrical ice-skating tour or production, whether individually or as part of a team or group.
Navigating the Form I-129 Process
Before you can come to the U.S., your U.S. agent, sponsor or employer must file Form I-129, a petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Along with the application, you will need to pay a fee and attach supporting documents. This information must be sent directly to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who will then approve or deny your request. In some circumstances, USCIS will respond with a request for more evidence or supporting documents.
Submitting Your Credentials for a P1-Visa
When applying for a P1 visa in 2020, you will be required to submit certain documents to prove your credentials. Supporting documents typically include a written consultation from a reputable labor organization, copies of written contracts or summaries of the terms of your employment, and an explanation of the activities or events that you will be participating in, as well as the start and end dates of these events.
If you are an internationally-recognized individual or team, you must submit a copy of a tendered contractor with a major United States sports team or league, or a recognized individual sport commensurate if applicable for your sport. You will also need to provide at least two of the following documents:
- Evidence of past participation in a major U.S. sports league
- Evidence of past participation in an international competition against a national team
- Evidence that you or your team has received a substantial award or honor in your sport
- Evidence that you or your team is ranked
- Evidence of past participation in a U.S. university or college in intercollegiate competition
- A written statement from a recognized member of the sports media or expert in your sport
- A written statement from a government official in your sport which discusses how you or your team has reached international recognition
If you are a professional athlete, you will need to submit evidence that shows that you will be working for a team in the U.S. that is a member of an association of six or more professional sports teams. You will also need to establish that the total revenue of the association’s team exceeds $10 million per year. Another requirement is the establishment that the association governs the conduct of all members and regulates all exhibitions and contests. If you plan to work for a minor league team that is associated with an association, you must establish that the team has a qualifying affiliation.
How to Handle Family and Personnel Involvement
In some circumstances, you may be eligible to bring your family and essential support personnel to the U.S. with you. Your spouse, along with any unmarried children under age 21, has the option to obtain P-4 nonimmigrant status. While this visa does not authorize employment in the U.S., family members can attend school or college. If you have support staff that is an integral part of your performance, the petitioner can file a separate Form I-129 for these individuals. Support staff may include coaches, trainers, scouts, referees, broadcasters, interpreters, umpires, or linesmen.
Working with an Immigration Attorney
While the P1 visa process may seem simple and straightforward, delays or denials can occur if a petitioner is not careful when completing the application and gathering supporting documents. To help streamline the process, acquire guidance from an experienced immigration attorney. For more information about the P1 visa process or to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney, contact Johnson & Masumi PC.