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P Visas

P Visas are issued pursuant to [INA §101(a)(15)(P), 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(15)(P); 8 C.F.R. §214.2(p); 22 C.F.R. §41.56

P Visas are issued to Athletes and Group Entertainers (P-1), Reciprocal Exchange Program artists or entertainers (P-2)and Entertainers With a Culturally Unique Program (P-3)

P-1 Visas are issued to Athletes and Group Entertainers who performs as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team that is "internationally recognized"(P-1A), or a person who performs with or is an integral or essential part of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as being outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time (P-1B), and in the case of the performer, has had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group over a period of at least one year.

P-1As have now been expanded to include minor league professional/entertainers under certain circumstances, specifically: (1) an athlete, whether or not professional, who performs at an internationally recognized level of performance; (2) an amateur athlete or coach of sports teams in the U.S. that are members of a foreign league or association if (i) the foreign league or association is the highest level of amateur performance of that sport in that country; (ii) participation renders the athlete ineligible for U.S. scholarships under NCAA rules; and (iii) a significant number of the players in the league are drafted into major league teams or minor teams affiliated with them; or (3) a professional or amateur ice skater who performs individually or as part of a group theatrical production.

(1) Internationally recognized means "a high level of achievement...evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent such achievement is renowned, leading or well-known in more than one country." 8 C.F.R. §214.2(p)(3);

(2) An entertainment group or athletic team may be as few as 2 persons. The manner in which the act is billed is not a determinative factor. If a solo artist or entertainer traditionally performs with back-up singers or musicians, the act can be classified as a group so long as 75% of them have been together for one year or more. If they do not meet the 75% rule then the solo artist must qualify as O-1 and the musicians as O-2s.

(3) Both international recognition and the one-year prior relationship may be waived for performers and entertainers in some cases. INA §214(c)(4)(B)(ii) & (iii), 8 U.S.C. §§1184(c)(4)(B)(ii) & (iii). A group that is nationally recognized for a sustained and substantial period of time may obtain a waiver if there are special circumstances. The one-year prior relationship does not apply to 25% of performers or entertainers in any group and the AG may waive this requirement for any performer or entertainer who replaces an essential member of the group because of that member's illness or other exigent circumstances or because the performer or entertainer augments the group by performing a critical role.

(4) Circus personnel performing as part of a circus or circus group are exempt from the international recognition and one-year requirements, provided they are part of or are joining, a circus with sustained national recognition. 8 C.F.R. §214.2(p)(4)(iii)(C)(1).

P-2 visas are issued pursuant to 8 C.F.R. §214.2(p)(5). P-2 classification may be accorded to an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will be performing under a RECIPROCAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM between an organization or organizations in the U.S. and one or more foreign organizations, which provides for the temporary exchange of artists, entertainers or groups.

P-3 visas are issued pursuant to 8 C.F.R. §214.2(p)(6). P-3 status may be accorded to an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who is coming to the U.S. to perform, teach, or coach in a CULTURALLY UNIQUE PROGRAM of a commercial or noncommercial nature that will further the understanding or development of his or her art form. It need not be sponsored by an educational, cultural, or government agency. 59 FR 41818, 41825 (Aug. 15, 1994).

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To schedule an appointment with Los Angeles visa attorney Artem M. Sarian, contact Sarian Law Group, APLC. We have offices in Glendale and Los Angeles, California, to serve you.

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