P1 Visa: Everything you need to know 2023

P1 visa.

A US visa is the authorizing document that gives foreign citizens the right to enter the United States. A visa is usually either a stamp you receive in your passport or a document given by a US consulate in your country of residence.

If you are issued a visa, it means that you are eligible to enter the US and that you meet the requirements of the particular visa that you have been given.

Do you plan to visit or move to the United States? you’ll need to find out which kind of Visa you’ll qualify for.

The US State Department offers different kinds of visas that depend on where you are traveling from and the purpose of your visit. 

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the P-1 visa.

What is a P1 Visa?

The P1 Visa is a type of non-immigrant visa issued to foreign citizens who are athletes or entertainers to come to the US temporarily to partake in an event or competition. Individuals or groups who fall into both categories can apply for a P-1 visa.

Types of P1 Visa

There are 2 categories of P-1 visas and each category has its requirements.

P1-A visa

This is reserved for Internationally recognized athletes or athletic teams. Coaches also qualify for a P1-A visa under this category.

P1-A Visa Eligibility requirements

  • The individual or group must have participated in a major US sports league.
  • The individual or group must have participated in a US university or college sports league.
  • The individual or group must have participated in a major national or international sports competition.
  • The individual or group must have received national or international acclaim.
  • The individual or group must have been nationally or internationally ranked in a high position.
  • The individual or group must have received a national or international award for their sporting achievements.

P1-B visa

This is for individuals or members of an internationally recognized entertainment group. 

P1-B Visa Eligibility requirements

  • The individual or group has had major success in following, ratings, records,  video sales, or box office sales.
  • The individual or group has achievements outlined in industry journals or major newspapers.
  • The individual or group has recognition from critics, government agencies, or other field experts who can testify to their achievements.
  • The individual or group has a high salary and good compensation for the activities that they do.

It is worth noting that groups must consist of at least 2 members and must have been formed at least one year ago, and 75% of the team must have been part of it for at least a year.

Those who apply for the P1 Visa to perform with their team, cannot perform individually while in the US.

Essential Support Personnel like coaches, trainers, referees, and scouts who play an important role in supporting P1 Visa holders during their performance can also apply for the P1 Visa. 

How to Apply for a P1 Visa

The application process for the P1 visa, for either athletes or entertainers, is similar. Athletes or entertainers cannot start the application themselves.

They must be sponsored by a US employer or organization to go to the US to perform or compete. 

Form I-129 Petition

The first step requires the sponsoring employer or organization to file a Form I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, and submit it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The petition must be filed no more than 6 months before the planned performance in the US. If the US employer is sponsoring a team, one collective form can be submitted.

Once the petition is approved, USCIS will notify your US sponsor and you by sending Form I-797, Notice of Action. After you receive it, you can proceed with your P1 Visa application.

Filing Form DS-160

The next step is to file Form DS-160, Online Non-immigrant Visa Application. This is the form required for most US visa applications. 

To complete it, you will have to provide personal details and answer questions about your background and the purpose of your trip to the US. 

When you are done submitting Form DS-160, make sure to keep the confirmation page as you will have to bring it to your visa interview.

How Much Does a P1 Visa Cost?

You will have to pay the visa application fee of $190 to continue your application. Your sponsor will have to pay a fee of $460 for Form I-129 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Don’t forget to save all receipts and include them in your portfolio of evidence.

After you have paid the fee, you can schedule and later attend the visa interview.

P1 Visa Processing Time

The P1 visa has a processing time of between 3 to 6 months. For some, it could be a long wait, but the US offers the opportunity to pay for premium processing.

Premium processing comes with an additional cost of  $1,225 and a response is expected within 15 days. 

Your money will be refunded if no response comes in 15 days.

Alternatives to a P1 Visa

In the event that you’re not eligible for a P1 Visa because you’re not a professional athlete, you can apply for  H-2B Visa. 

If you don’t have enough achievements for a P1 visa, the H-2B could be an option.

A B-2 Visa also allows amateur athletes to go to the US for amateur events if P1 Visas are not available for them.

What Extra Documents Do You Need?

Your portfolio of evidence has to contain these documents.

  • A confirmation page showing that you submitted Form DS-160.
  • A passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in the US.
  • A passport size photograph.
  • A receipt showing that you paid the visa application fee.
  • Form I-797 confirming that your petition has been approved.
  • A letter from a US employer describing what performance and events you will take part in.
  • A contract with your US sponsor.
  • Proof that you or your team are nationally or internationally recognized.

Note: if you plan to bring your significant other to the US with you, you have to include a valid marriage certificate for your spouse.

Conclusion

The P1 visa is one of many visa categories for people who wish to visit the United States. If you require further clarity on the status of your application, endeavour to engage the services of an Immigration lawyer.

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