P Visa Essential Support Personnel

USCIS Definition of P Visa Essential Support Personnel


The support staff members of athletes and artistic performers are also eligible for P visa classification. USCIS defines “essential support personnel” as those individuals who are an integral part of the performance of a P visa athlete or team or artistic performer, who performs support services which cannot be readily performed by U.S. workers.  Examples of support personnel are coaches, scouts, trainers, stagehands, makeup artists, costumers, etc. It may also include referees, linesmen, or other sports officials and judges who traditionally conduct the activities or sport.

What else does USCIS require for support personnel to obtain a P visa?


The U.S. employer or agent must file a separate petition for nonimmigrant worker for support personnel.  The petition must include the following documents:


  • A consultation from an appropriate labor organization with expertise in the area of the support person’s skill;


  • A statement describing the support person’s prior and current essentiality, critical skills and experience with the P visa athlete/team or artist/ entertainer; and


  • A copy of a written contract between the employer and the support person or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the support person will be employed.

If you need assistance with applying for your support staff’s P Visa, please contact  our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys.  We offer expert legal counsel and can help you today!  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]


How long can essential support personnel stay in the United States?


Staff may stay in the U.S. for the amount of time needed to complete the performance, activity or event.   They may apply for extensions in one year increments for a period of up to five years in order to continue or complete the event, activity or performance.

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