Costs and Timeline 

- Petition - $460 
- Visa - $190
- Optional Premium Processing - $2500

The processing times for petitions for P visas can vary, typically between 2 to 6 months, whereas USCIS is required to approve or deny a petition within 15 calendar days under premium processing.

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Application process for a P visa

A P visa is a petition-based visa, where your US sponsor is required to file an employment based petition on your behalf with USCIS. If you use agents to arrange short-term employment with different employers, or you’re traditionally self-employed, an agent may file a petition on your behalf. An agent may also file on behalf of a foreign employer.

The instructions on filing a petition will vary with each visa category. Equally, the documentation to be submitted in support will vary. In most cases, however, your sponsor or agent will need to file a written consultation from an appropriate labor organisation, where one exists, describing the nature of the work to be performed and how the other route-specific requirements have been met. The sponsor or agent must also file copies of any written contracts or summaries of the terms of oral agreements containing the terms of your employment, an explanation of the nature of the events or activities in which you will be participating, and any additional documents required for your specific P visa classification.

Once the petition has been approved by USCIS and you are in possession of either the Notice of Action, Form I-797 or Petition Receipt number, you may apply for your P visa with the US embassy or consulate in your native country.

Having completed this form, printed the confirmation page and paid the application fee, you’ll usually be required to schedule an in-person appointment. At this appointment, you must attend with a number of additional documents.

Requirements for P-1A  Athletes

If coming to the US solely for the purpose of performing at an athletic competition, either as an individual athlete or team, at an internationally recognised level of performance; as a professional athlete; or as an athlete or coach, as part of a team or franchise located in the US and a member of a foreign league or association. The P-1A classification also applies to both professional or amateur athletes, individually or as part of a group, coming to the US to perform in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour.

Under the P-1A visa, there are very specific requirements for each of the sub-categories, including for internationally recognised individual athletes and athletic teams, for professional athletes, for amateur athletes or coaches, and for theatrical ice skaters.

As a recognised individual athlete, to qualify for a P-1A visa, you must be coming to the US to participate in a specific athletic competition in a sport in which you’re internationally recognised. You’ll be classed as ‘internationally recognised’ if you have a high level of sporting achievement, demonstrated by a high degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. This achievement must be renowned, leading or well-known in more than one country, and the competition(s) you wish to take part in must have a distinguished reputation and be at an internationally recognised level of performance.

Similarly, for internationally recognised athletic teams, you must be coming to the US to participate in a competition with a team that has achieved international recognition in the sport in question. The competition in which your team is taking part must again have a distinguished reputation and be at an internationally recognised level of performance.

In contrast, as a professional athlete, you must be coming to the US to be employed as an athlete by a team that’s a member of an association of 6 or more professional sports teams whose combined revenue exceeds $10 million per year, or employed by any minor league team affiliated with such an association. For amateur athletes or coaches, you must be performing as part of a team or franchise located in the US and a member of a foreign league or association, where that league or association must meet various strict requirements.

For theatrical ice skaters, you must be coming to the US to participate in a specific theatrical production or tour as a professional or amateur athlete performing individually or as a group.

P Visa  for Artists, Athletes & Entertainers

A short-term U.S. work visa called the P visa is available for outstanding athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment companies (including circuses) with a job offer from a U.S. employer. Their essential support personnel may also be granted visas to accompany P Visa holders. There is no annual limit on the number of people who can receive P visas.

P-1A Athletes
P-1B Entertainment Groups
P-2 Entertainers
P-3 Culturally Unique Performers
Essential Support Personnel 
Application Process
Costs and Timeline 

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Requirements for Essential Support Personnel

If coming to the US as essential support personnel to accompany either a P-1A athlete or P-1A athletic team, or to accompany a P-1B entertainment group, or a P-2 or P-3 artist or entertainer.

Under each of the P visa classifications, essential support personnel can apply for a visa, provided they can show that they’re an integral part of the performance of a P visa-holder, and who perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a US worker.

Support personnel for a P-1A visa-holder can include coaches, scouts, trainers, broadcasters, referees, linesmen, umpires and interpreters, whilst support personnel for a P-1B worker can include front office personnel, camera operators, lighting technicians and stage personnel. Essential support personnel for either a P-2 or P-3 artist or entertainer can include stagehands, trainers or those with critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed.

Requirements for P-3 Culturally Unique

If coming to the US to perform, teach or coach as an artist or entertainer, either individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.

Under the P-3 visa, you must be coming to the US, individually or as part of a group, for the purpose of either developing, interpreting, representing, coaching or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. You must also be coming to the US to participate in a cultural event(s), of either a commercial or noncommercial nature, which will further the understanding or development of your art.

Requirements for P-2 Artists and Entertainers

If coming to the US to perform as an artist or entertainer, either individually or as part of a group, under a reciprocal exchange program between an organisation in the United States and an organisation in another country

Under the P-2 visa, you must be an artist entering the US through a government recognised reciprocal exchange program, where five P-2 reciprocal agreements currently exist, including the Actor’s Equity Association in the United States and the British Actors’ Equity Association.

If a different reciprocal agreement is submitted, USCIS will still review the agreement to determine if it adheres to the regulatory standard. You must also possess skills comparable to those of the artists and entertainers in the US taking part in the program outside the US.

Requirements for P-1B Entertainment Group

If coming to the US to perform as a member of an entertainment group that’s been established for a minimum of one year and is recognised internationally as outstanding in the relevant discipline for a substantial and sustained period of time. However, individual entertainers not performing as part of a group are not eligible for this visa classification, and would instead need to apply for either a P-2 or P-3 visa, or an 0 visa.

Under the P-1B visa, at least 75% of the members of your entertainment group must be able to prove a sustained and substantial relationship with that group for at least a period of one year.

The group must also be internationally recognised, having a high level of achievement evidenced by a high degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading or well-known in several countries. It’s the reputation of the group, and not the individual achievements of its’ members, or the acclaim of a particular production, that’s important here.

There are also special provisions for certain entertainment groups, where circus performers and essential circus personnel are exempt from both the ‘one year’ and ‘internationally recognised’ requirements, provided they’re coming to join a nationally recognised circus. Certain nationally-known entertainment groups may also have the ‘internationally recognised’ requirement waived, provided they can establish they’ve been recognised nationally as outstanding in its’ discipline for a sustained amount of time.