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P Visa for Performers, Teachers and Coaches

The P-1 category non-immigrant visa is available to performing groups, athletes, culturally unique performers, teachers, and coaches. The P-2 category is useful for eligible individual and group artists. The P-3 category should be the first option for culturally unique artists (group or individuals), teachers and coaches. Contact us for questions on the P non immigrant category. Our lawyers are experienced in all facets of immigration law. Call or contact one of our attorneys for a consultation.

Requirements for P-1 Classification

The P-1 classification visa is useful for internationally known athletes, individually, or as part of a group or team, and entertainment groups (not individuals). They must meet the basic standard of international recognition i.e. “a high level of achievement in the field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well known in more than one country," 8 CFR §214.2(p) (3).


P-1 may be granted to an internationally recognized athlete based on individual reputation and achievements. The standard is lower with comparison to O-1 aliens in athletics where the requirement is "sustained national or international acclaim". The P-1 visa is for competing athletes and not for coaches and trainers. Athletic teams must be recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline and must be coming to perform services that require such recognition.

The COMPETE Act of 2006 expanded the aliens eligible for P-1 classification to include:

  1. Individual professional athletes employed by teams belonging to an association of six or more professional sports teams with combined revenues exceeding $10 million annually;
  2. Individual coaches or athletes performing with teams or franchises in the U.S. that are part of an international league/association with at least 15 amateur sports teams;
  3. Amateur or professional skaters performing individually or as part of a group in theatrical skating productions/tours.


Individual athletes and teams must include with their petition a tendered contract with a major U.S. sports league or team as well as evidence and/or documentation of at least two of the following:

  • Significant participation in a prior U.S. major league season;
  • Participation in international competition with a national team;
  • Significant participation in a prior U.S. College/University season in intercollegiate competition;
  • A written statement from a major U.S sports league or official detailing alien's or team's international recognition;
  • A written statement from the sports media or a recognized expert respecting international recognition;
  • International ranking; or
  • Significant honors/awards in sports.


Aliens who belong to an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time can opt for a P-1 classification visa. Each member must have a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least a year. Contact us for questions relative to Entertainer visas.


  • Evidence that the group has been established and performing regularly for a period of at least one year;
  • A statement from the petitioner listing each member of the group and the exact date for which each member has been employed on a regular basis by the group; and
  • Evidence that the group has been internationally recognized in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. This can be evidenced by group’s nomination for or receipt of international awards or prizes for outstanding achievements;

or evidence that the group has achieved three of the following:

  • Leading entertainment group in production/events with distinguished reputation;
  • International recognition;
  • Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes;
  • Recognition for achievements from organizations, critics or government agencies;
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration comparable to other similarly situated.


75 Percent Rule

Only 75 percent of the group members must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least a year.

Waiver of One Year Relationship

USCIS may waive the one year relationship requirement for an alien who, because of illness or unanticipated circumstance, replaces an essential member of the entertainment group.

Waiver of International Reputation

USCIS may waive the international recognition requirement for entertainment groups if they are recognized nationally as being outstanding in their discipline.

Circus Personnel

The one year membership requirement does not apply to alien circus personnel performing as part of a circus who are integral and essential and coming to join a circus with national recognition.

P-2 Classification Visa

The P-2 classification visa is useful for artists and entertainers who perform individually or as part of a group under a reciprocal exchange program between one or more U.S organizations and one or more such organizations in another country and the individuals must have ‘comparable skills.’

P-3 Classification Visa

The P-3 classification visa is accorded to culturally unique artists and entertainers, individually or as a group, coming to the U.S. to develop, interpret, represent, coach, or teach their particular art or discipline. Culturally unique means “a style of artistic expression, methodology or medium which is unique to a particular country, nation, society, class, ethnicity, religion, tribe, or other group of persons”.

Accompanying Aliens

All P categories allow for essential support personnel who are defined as ‘a highly skilled, essential person and an integral part of the performance of the alien because the support services cannot readily be performed by a U.S. worker. These categories are classified as P-1S, P-2S and P-3S.

Contact us

If you have questions about an immigration matter, and/or you need help in the process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to speak with an attorney. We handle various matters including family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, Green Cards and Permanent Residence, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our firm can effectively achieve your objectives.

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