P Visa: Athlete, Entertainment Group, Artist or Entertainers

The P visa categories are reserved for aliens coming to the U.S. to perform in athletics or entertainment. There are several sub-categories under the P visa:

P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete: For athlete that comes to the U.S. individually or as part of a group or team to temporarily perform at the international athletic competition.

P-1B A Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group: Allows a member to come to the U.S. temporarily participate in a performance for a U.S. employer or a U.S. agent.

P-2 Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform under Reciprocal Exchange Program: For artists and entertainment groups to enter the U.S. to temporarily perform under a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and the foreign country.

P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program: For individuals who come to the U.S. temporarily for the purpose of performing, coaching, or teaching under a culturally unique program.

P-4 Family of P-1, P-2 and P-3 Holders: Issue to the spouses and unmarried children under age of 21 of P visa holders. P-4 Visa holders may not be employed, but may attend school.

Essential Support Personnel for P-1A, P-1B, P-2, P-3 Visas

Essential Support Personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a team or an individual and who perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker, are eligible for the same type of visa classification as the team or the individual. Support personnel may include the followings:

P-1A & P-3: coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials and referees

P-1B: front office personnel, camera operators, lighting technicians and stage personnel

P-2: stagehands, trainers, or those persons having critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed

The U.S. employer must file a separate Form I-129 for each support personnel.  The petition must include the following documents:

  1. A consultation from an appropriate labor organization with expertise in the area of the support person’s skill
  2. A statement describing the support person’s prior and current essentially, critical skills and experience with the team or the individual
  3. 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


Period of Stay

Unlike O-Visa’s, P-Visa’s may be issued on the strength of the individual or on the strength of the group as a whole.  The initial period of stay is as follows:


  • Individual Athlete: not to exceed 5 years
  • Athletic Group and Essential Support Personnel: not to exceed 1 year

P-1B: not to exceed 1 year

P-2: not to exceed 1 year

P-3: not to exceed 1 year

Application Process:

Step 1:  U.S. employer or the sponsoring organization submits Form I-129 for the P visa beneficiary (the non-immigrant workers) with the needed supporting documents.

Step 2:  If the petition is approved, the team or the individual who intends to come to the U.S. to temporarily perform in athletics or entertainment can apply for the appropriate P visa at a U.S. embassy or a U.S. consulate.

For more information about P visa, you may check U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ web page:

P-1A visa: http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/p-1a-internationally-recognized-athlete

P-1B visa: http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/p-1b-member-internationally-recognized-entertainment-group/p-1b-member-internationally-recognized-entertainment-group

P-2 visa:    http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/p-2-performer-or-group-performing-under-reciprocal-exchange-program/p-2-individual-performer-or-part-group-entering-perform-under-reciprocal-exchange-program

P-3 visa:      http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/p-3-artist-or-entertainer-part-culturally-unique-program/p-3-artist-or-entertainer-coming-be-part-culturally-unique-program