Artists and athletes are an essential portion of healthy cultural exchange. The global community benefits greatly from the work of each country’s greatest thinkers and performers. P-1 visas are issued to entertainers, circus artists, and athletes who wish to work in the U.S. Outstanding athletes may apply for this visa in order to compete in the U.S., either as individuals or as members of an internationally recognized athletic team.
Entertainment groups with an outstanding international reputation can be granted P-1 classification as a unit; however individual entertainers within these groups cannot apply for separate visas. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are permitted to accompany you to the United States, under a P-4 status. P-4 visa holders are not allowed to work, but may attend schools or colleges. Servants of a P-1 visa holder may receive a B-1 visa with work authorization.
Your employer must forward all necessary documents and evidence along with Form I-129 to the USCIS branch with jurisdiction over the area where you plan to perform. A U.S. agent may also file a petition for workers who are self-employed, use agents to book short-term engagements with many different employers or in situations where foreign employer(s) authorize the use of an agent to act on their behalf. This agent may be the employer of the performer, a representative of the employer or a person authorized to act on behalf of the employer.
For the P-1 Visa, you must provide the following documents:
- A filled-in visa application Form DS-156. Separate applications for each person are compulsory.
- One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
- A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
- Proof that you are recognized in your field. This may include awards, citations and certificates.
- Athletes and entertainment groups may be asked to provide further documentation.