The P-1 classification applies to you if you are coming 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.
Individual Athletes Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with 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.
Athletic Teams Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.
To come to the United States your U.S. employer must file a Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker, accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation. Please note a petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent. The required conditions can be found at the link to the right (see the memorandum “Requirements for Agents and Sponsors Filing as Petitioners for the O and P Visa Classifications”. The 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 your qualifications for such work. If no appropriate labor organization exists, this requirement is excused. For more information about filing a Form I-129, see the “Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker” link to the right.
Applying for a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Once the visa petition is approved, you can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate. For more information on visa application processing and issuance fees, see the “Department of State, travel.state.gov” link to the right.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
Initial Period of Stay
Extension of Stay
|Individual Athlete – Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 5 years||Individual Athlete –Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.
Total stay is limited to 10 years.
|Athletic Group – Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year||Athletic Group – Increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.|
|Essential Support Personnel – Time to complete the event, activity, or performance, may not exceed 1 year||Increments of up to 5 years in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance. Total stay is limited to 10 years|
For additional information on extension of status for P-1 nonimmigrant individual athletes and P-1 essential support personnel see the memos: “Procedures for Applying the Period of Authorized Stay for P-1 Nonimmigrant Individual Athletes” and “Procedures for Applying the Period of Authorized Stay for P-1S Nonimmigrant Individual Athletes’ Essential Support Personnel” at the link on the right. The Form I-129 is used to apply for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of employment. For more information see “Extend my Stay” and “Change my Nonimmigrant Status” link on the right.
Change of employer
You may change employers, but only after your new employer has filed a new Form I-129 with USCIS requesting permission to employ you and extend your stay. You may not commence employment with the new employer until the Form I-129 has been approved.
Family of P-1A Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 status. Your dependents may not engage in employment, but may attend school or college.
Essential Support Personnel
Essential Support Personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P-1 athlete (team) and who perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker, are eligible for P-1 classification. Support personnel may include coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials and referees. The U.S. employer must file a separate Form I-129 for support personnel. The petition must include the following documents:
- A consultation from an 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-1 athlete (team)
- 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