The P1 Visa Application Process

P1 visas are available to foreign athletes and other entertainers, as well as their coaches and support staff. You may be eligible to apply for a P1 visa if you are an internationally-recognized athlete or a member of an internationally-recognized athletic team and you would like to enter the United States to participate or compete in an event of international standing. You may also be eligible for P1 status if you are an entertainer or entertainment group that has been recognized as outstanding and plan to perform in the U.S., whether in a single event or as part of a tour.

The P1 Visa Process

As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, the P1 visa application process is fairly straightforward. Note that you cannot apply for a P1 visa on your own, but rather a U.S. employer must sponsor your visa. The process goes as follows:

Peer Group Consultation

Before your sponsor can file the P1 visa petition, an advisory opinion must be obtained from an appropriate labor organization or consulting entity. If an appropriate peer group, management organization, or labor organization does not exist, you must prove this. If your position is covered under a union contract, you will need to obtain a letter of no-objection that is signed by an official union representative.

Form I-129 Application

The process begins when your U.S. agent, employer, or sponsor files Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf. Along with the completed application, your sponsor will need to submit all requested supporting documentation and the appropriate fee. In addition, Form I-129 must be filed by your sponsor if you wish to extend your stay in the U.S. or you would like to request a change in status to P1 classification. You may also need to submit a Form I-1290/P supplement with your application. Documentation for a P1 visa includes the following:

  • Written contract between a U.S. agent or employer and your athletic or entertainment group. If no written contract exists, then you will need to submit a detailed description of your oral agreement.
  • Thorough explanation of the event and your itinerary.

In addition, both individual athletes and athletic teams must submit a minimum of two of the following documents:

  • A record of previous participation in a major U.S. sports league.
  • A record of participation on any national team at an international event.
  • A record of participation to a significant extent with a U.S. collegiate team in a prior season.
  • A statement from an official governing body of the sport that explains your international recognition.
  • A statement from a recognized expert in your sport and members of the sports media that explains your international recognition.
  • Evidence of your high rank in sports using recognized ranking systems.
  • Evidence of significant awards that you or your athletic team has received.

If you are an artist or part of an entertainment group, you will need to submit a minimum of two of the following documents:

  • A record of your group’s participation in an internationally-reputed event.
  • A record of your group’s recognition internationally as proven by reviews published in trade journals, papers, etc.
  • A record of your group’s commercial success.
  • Recognition of your group’s achievement by leaders in the field.
  • A record that shows that your group receives a significantly higher salary than most others in the field.

Premium P1 Petition Processing

It generally takes an average of three to six months to complete the P1 visa process. However, you can speed up this process by paying an additional fee for premium processing of your P1 athlete visa or P1 entertainment visa. When you pay an additional fee of $1,440, the USCIS will make a prompt decision regarding your application and you will typically have your P1 application approved within 15 calendar days. In some cases, the USCIS will ask for further evidence that will need to be submitted quickly to avoid delays in the process.

P1 Visa Process at an American Consulate

If you are already in the U.S., you can apply for a P1 visa at an American consulate. When applying, bring an original copy of the Notice of Action, Form I-797A, or B. You will also need to submit other documentation with your application, including:

  • DOS Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  • A passport-style color photograph.
  • A copy of your passport with at least one blank page that will be valid at least six months beyond the designated period of stay.
  • A letter from your U.S. employer that details your position, as well as a statement that explains your skills and how they are essential to the job.

Learn More About the P1 Visa Application Process

If you are interested in learning more about the P1 visa application process or need assistance with any part of the process, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Johnson & Masumi today. Call us today at (703) 688-8376 or contact us online to get started.

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