P-1 Athletes, Athletic Teams, and Performers

The P-1 classification applies to foreign nationals being brought to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. This classification also includes foreign nationals who perform with or are an essential or integral part of an entertainment group that has been internationally recognized as outstanding for a sustained and substantial period of time. The USCIS further requires for entertainment groups a showing that at least 75 percent of the members have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least one year, with exemptions for certain groups and if special circumstances apply.

Individual athletes must demonstrate that they are seeking to enter the US to participate in an individual event, competition or performance in which the athlete is internationally recognized. The USCIS defines “internationally recognized” as having a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.

A member of an athletic team is eligible for this visa in order to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which the athletic team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.

The petitioning U.S. employer must submit a consultation from an appropriate labor organization. The consultation must describe the work or services to be performed in the United States and the foreign national’s qualifications for such work. If no appropriate labor organization exists, this requirement is excused.

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