P-1 visas are the necessary documentation for those coming to the United States for competitions and performances. The P-1B visa applies to members of an entertainment group who are visiting the United States to conduct a performance. The P-1B visa is not applicable to individual entertainers. These are different from P-1A visas, which only apply to individual athletes, athletic teams, or coaches who are visiting to compete in the United States. Both visas require applicants to be internationally recognized.
What Does International Recognition Mean?
The broad definition of the requirement to be internationally recognized is that the entertainment group has to have been critically reviewed, awarded, or received other significant recognition internationally for performance in their field. This must be proven when applying for a P-1B visa by presenting evidence, which is listed below.
How to Apply For a P-1B Visa
Entertainment groups can have their international members apply for a P-1B visa if they are traveling to the United States for an event, relevant competition, or performance. Members are required to present evidence of their group’s international recognition and complete Form I-129, Petition For a Nonimmigrant Worker. Applicants who receive a P-1B visa are granted a stay as long as is needed to complete the purpose of their stay, up to 1 year. If the group requires an extension past 1 year, they must submit an application to extend their stay using Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Evidence of International Recognition for Members of Entertainment Groups
To qualify for the P-1B visa, members of entertainment groups must prove their cultural impact and international recognition by presenting evidence of their achievements in the field or critical reception. Members must present at least three of the following:
- Evidence of previous or upcoming performance(s) as a leading group in a production that received high praise from critical reviews, gained advertisements or endorsements, or was well-publicized
- Evidence that previous performance(s) were acknowledged and praised in publications such as newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or third party websites in the relevant field
- Evidence of previous or upcoming performances for organizations that have distinguished reputations
- Evidence of major commercial success, such as ratings, box office receipts, or sales
- Evidence of significant recognition from special organizations, government entities, or other recognized experts in the relevant field
- Evidence that the group will earn a large salary for the upcoming performance as compared to other similar groups
Form I-129 Submission
All P-1B visa applicants must also complete and submit Form I-129. Along with this form, the applicant or his or her employer, agent, or sponsor must also submit all of the following:
- Written consultation from an appropriate labor organization, if one exists, which describes the activity for which the petitioner is visiting the United States and qualifications
- Schedule or itinerary of stay with the dates and locations of each performance
- Copies of contracts of employment for performances or, if these do not exist, descriptions of employment entered into by oral agreement
- Evidence that the group has been performing for at least one year, including previous performance dates
- List of all members of the group including starting dates
Essential Support Staff for Performing Groups
Support staff essential to performances are also allowed to apply for P-1B visas. Examples of essential support staff include camera operators, lighting technicians, stage performers, and others who are integral to the conducting of the performance. These personnel must file a separate Form I-129 with a statement from their employer describing how they are essential with a copy of their employment contract.
Can I Bring My Family on a P-1B Visa?
P-1B visas are specific to the applicants who are visiting the United States to perform as members of an entertainment group. However, applicants’ families are eligible for P-4 nonimmigrant status. While this will not allow family members to gain employment, it will allow them to attend school or college. To apply for this status, family members must file Form I-539. If more than one family member is applying, it is recommended to apply as co-applicants with the applicant’s P-1B in paper form to save money, as applying online requires a fee per application.
Consult With An Immigration Attorney
The process for obtaining a P-1B visa is complicated and can be lengthy, especially for first time travelers and groups with large amounts of members. Johnson & Masumi has extensive legal experience in visa applications and can handle any complications that arise during the process. Call or contact Johnson & Masumi today to use their expertise in navigating the legal process and save your energy for your performance.