How long do P1 Visas last? If you are a visiting athlete or entertainer entering the United States to practice your craft, you may have obtained a P-1 visa. P-1 visas are for nonimmigrant workers who intend a temporary stay in the U.S. for the purpose of athletic competition or entertainment. These visas provide flexibility to athletes and performers but they typically cover a short period of time.
While P-1 visas expire, they can be extended under certain conditions. These conditions depend on criteria such as the purpose of stay, employer sponsorship, and more. It is very important for athletes and entertainers to be aware of how long P-1 visas last and requirements for an extension, otherwise, they risk jeopardizing future visits and opportunities.
Purpose of Your Stay
The purpose of your stay influences the length of authorization for your P-1 visa. There are two types of P1 visas depending on the purpose of stay: P-1A and P-1B.
A P-1A visa is for temporary visitors traveling to the United States to perform at a specific athletic event or competition. This includes professional athletes as well as any individual athlete or team of athletes at an internationally recognized level of performance. P-1A visa stay periods are granted according to the time required to complete an event or performance. For individual athletes, the initial period cannot exceed 5 years. For groups and support personnel, the initial period cannot exceed 1 year.
A P-1B visa is for temporary visitors traveling to the United States to perform as a member of an entertainment group. The group must have a track record of international recognition in their discipline. The initial period of stay for a P-1B visa is the time required to complete the event or performance. The initial period of stay on a P-1B visa is not to exceed 1 year.
Change of Employer
A P-1 visa can expire before the end of the initial stay period if the recipient changes employers. This is because the P-1 visa is sponsored by an applicant’s employer or agent, verifying that your presence is safe or productive for the general public. If you are no longer employed by the organization that sponsored your visa or if you have ended the relationship with your agent, your visa is considered expired because the information supporting it is no longer valid.
Eligibility to Apply to Extend Stay
You should not assume that because you’ve been granted a P-1 visa, you will also be granted an extension. Be sure to check whether you meet all of the requirements before applying for an extension. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services lists the following requirements for eligibility:
- You were lawfully admitted into the United States with a nonimmigrant visa
- Your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid
- You have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible for a visa
- You have not violated the conditions of your admission
- Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay
You will not be found eligible if you were admitted to any of the following categories:
- Visa Waiver Program
- Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa)
- In transit through the United States (C nonimmigrant visa)
- In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
- Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa)
- Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa)
How Often Do I Need to Extend?
P-1 visa stay periods can vary depending on the time needed to perform in a competition or event; therefore, the frequency of extensions can change from case to case. To determine when you need to extend, check the date in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record. If your stay requires you to be in the U.S. longer than the authorized date on your Form I-94, you will need to extend.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency recommends that candidates submit their extension application at least 45 days before their authorized stay expires. Their policy states that “if you remain in the United States longer than authorized, you may be barred from returning and/or you may be removed (deported) from the United States.”
Get Help Navigating Visa Process
Visa extension applications can be time-consuming and complicated. If you are a first-time visitor planning your stay, the requirements for initial approval alone can be frustrating. The thought of having to go through an extensive process after you’ve already arrived becomes overwhelming. If you are already in the United States, the process can be draining as you try to focus on your personal or professional pursuits.
Johnson and Masumi specialize in immigration and visas. We’ve helped clients abroad obtain visas and gain entry into the United States. If you are an athlete or entertainer looking for guidance through the visa extension process, contact a Johnson and Masumi legal representative today.