The P visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows certain individuals to be lawfully employed in the United States on a temporary basis. There are four different types of P visas: (1) P-1A visa for internationally recognized athletes; (2) P-1B visa for members of internationally recognized entertainment groups; (3) P-2 visa for performers or groups performing under a reciprocal exchange program; and (4) P-3 visa for artists or entertainers who are part of a culturally unique program.
P-1A Visa for Internationally Recognized Athletes
The term “internationally recognized” is defined in the code of federal regulations (“CFR”) as meaning, “a high level of achievement . . . evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent such achievement is renowned, leading or well-known in more than one country.” Both athletes themselves and their respective support personnel such as coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials may obtain a P-1A visa.
P-1B Visa for Members of Internationally Recognized Entertainment Groups
As with the P-1A visa, the P-1B visa holder must be “internationally recognized” according to the CFR. Members of entertainment groups may include support personnel such as front office personnel, camera operators, lighting technicians and stage personnel, in addition to the performers themselves. One requirement for beneficiaries of the P-1B visa is that at least 75 percent of the group members must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the entertainment group for at least one year. If the group cannot meet this 75 percent requirement, the primary performer and support personnel must qualify as O-1 and O-2, respectively. Speak to a Seattle immigration lawyer about other requirements of the P-1B visa.
P-2 Visa for Performers or Groups Performing Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program
Artists or entertainers may obtain P-2 status individually or as part of a group, as long as they demonstrate that they will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the U.S. and one or more foreign organizations, which provides for the temporary exchange of artists, entertainers or groups.
P-3 Visa for Artists or Entertainers Who Are Part of a Culturally Unique Program
P-3 artists or entertainers need not seek sponsorship from an educational, cultural, or government agency; as long as they can demonstrate that they will further the understanding or development of a culturally unique art form, they may obtain the P-3 visa. This visa category is not limited to traditional art forms; rather, it may be a combination or fusion of more than one art form from more than one culture or region.
Can my spouse work while I am on a P visa?
Spouses of P visa holders, who can enter the United States on the P-4 visa, are not authorized to work while on P-4 status. In order for a spouse of a P visa holder to be work-authorized, he must obtain his own lawful status which provides employment authorization.
How can I learn more about the P visa?
For more detailed information on P visas, please speak to one of our Seattle P visa attorneys.