P Visa – Athletes, Artists and Entertainers

What is the P visa for nonimmigrants?

The P visa is a short-term U.S. work visa available to outstanding athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies (including circuses) with a job offer from a U.S. employer.  The P-1, P-2 and P-3 visas all apply to different individuals depending on which type of activity he or she will be participating in once inside the United States.   The P visa holder may also bring essential support personnel, who may also be granted visas with the same letter-number designations.  Family members may also be brought to the U.S. with some P visa holders.  There is no annual limit on the number of people who can receive P visas.


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How long does it take to apply for a P visa?

The visa application process to obtain a P visa can take up to several months. Fortunately, however, premium processing of this application is available, which at a higher fee can guarantee a decision in as little as two weeks. Foreign athletes, artists and entertainers looking to enter the U.S. for a sports competition, event or concert must plan ahead as these visas are not issued overnight.

As these visas are for certain qualified individuals, they are highly scrutinized and we strongly encourage you contact our U.S. immigration attorney for a free consultation.




How long can I stay in the U.S. on my P visa?

As a general rule, P visa holders are admitted to the United States for a period according to the duration of a specific competition, event or performance. When applying for the P visa it is imperative to have a detailed schedule of events; the longer the schedule of events is, the longer the admission will be.

P visa holders may arrive to the U.S. on a temporary basis, with intentions to depart voluntarily at the end of the authorized stay. P visa holders may also seek to become permanent residents ("green card" holders), read more here.

In the event that the P visa is terminated, other than voluntary resignation, the U.S. employer that petitioned for the P visa, or U.S. agent must pay the costs of transportation back to the home country of the P visa holder.

All nonimmigrants wanting to enter the United States must have a valid foreign passport for the entire extent of the desired period of stay or he or she will not be admitted to the United States.


What is the difference between a P Visa and an O Visa?

The standards for visa eligibility are much lower for the P visa than that of the O visa. The P visa is also limited to certain artists, entertainers and athletes. O visa holders may engage in many fields including arts, athletics, business, education, science or in motion picture and television production.

The biggest difference, too, is that P visa must enter the U.S. temporarily and maintain a residence abroad and show evidence of not abandoning his or her home country. The O1 visa is a more permanent immigrant visa and leads to a green card if the holder decides to file for adjustment of status.

Read more about O visas for extraordinary individuals here.


P visa athletic team


What are the different P visa categories?

Although the P visa covers different types of activities once inside the U.S., different P visa categories apply to different individuals. Below is a list with links to more information on each visa category under the P visa.

P-1A Visa for Athlete or Member of an Athletic Team

  • For internationally recognized athletes, individually or part of a team.

P-1B Visa for Member of Entertainment Group

  • For members of an internationally recognized entertainment group.

P-2 Visa for Artists and Entertainers in Exchange Programs

  • For artists and entertainers coming to perform under a reciprocal exchange program.

P-3 Visa for Culturally Unique Artists and Entertainers

Artists and entertainers coming solely to perform, teach or coach under a culturally unique program in the U.S.

P-4 Visa for Dependents of P Visa holders

Eligible spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 of the primary P-1, P-2 or P-3 visa holder.

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