P-1a Visas For Athletes
P-1 visas are available to those individuals who are traveling temporarily to the United States to participate in an athletic competition or performance in which the individual is internationally recognized with a high level of achievement. Such achievement must be supported by a degree or skill, and the level of recognition must be substantially above the ordinary, must be renowned, and must be leading or well- known in more than one (1) country.
Athletic teams are eligible to apply for P-1 visas if the team is traveling temporarily to the United States to participate in a team event in which the team has achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The athletic event must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition. To apply, the employer must file a Form I-129 Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker, and provide supporting documentation. The employer must also submit information from an appropriate labor organization which addresses the work to be performed in the United States, and the applicant’s qualifications to perform such work. The supporting documentation includes but may not be limited to the following:
- A copy of the contract with a major U.S. sports league or team, or a contract in an individual sport with international recognition;
- Information regarding the event;
- An Itinerary; and
- Documentation of at least two (2) of the following achievements:
- Evidence that the applicant participated to a significant extent in a prior season with a major U.S. sports league
- Evidence that the applicant participated to a significant extent in an international competition with a national team
- Evidence that the applicant participated to a significant extent in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
- A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or from an official of the governing body of the sport explaining how the team is internationally recognized;
- A written statement from the sports media or recognized expert in the sport which discusses how the applicant or team is internationally recognized;
- Ranking of the team;
- Honors or awards in the sport.
Once the visa petition is approved, the applicant can apply for the physical vsa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. For individual athletes, the length of stay permissible is the time needed to complete the event, but no longer than five (5) years. This can be extended up to ten (10) years. For a team, the length of stay permissible is the time needed to complete the event, but no longer than one (1) year. This can be extended in increments of one (1) year to complete the event. Individuals who are essential to the performance of the P-1 athlete and who perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker are eligible for P-1 visa classification. Coaches, scouts, trainers, officials and referees may qualify as essential support personnel. The length of stay permissible is the time needed to complete the event, but no longer than one (1) year. This can be extended in increments of five (5) years up to ten (10) years. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also qualify for a P visa.
Let the attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC assist you with your P-1 visa applications. Call our office today at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation.