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OBTAINING A P-1 ATHLETIC VISA

OBTAINING A P-1 ATHLETIC VISA

            If you are an outstanding, internationally recognized athlete, and you wish to ply your trade in the United States, then the P-1 Visa may be just what you need.

ADVANTAGES OF THE P-1 VISA

            Some of the advantages of the P-1 Visa include:

            1.         They are issued (relatively) quickly; usually in about 2 to 4 months.

            2.         P-1 athletes are admitted for up to 5 years, with the option of extending the visa for an additional 5 years, for a total of 10 years.

            3.         The p-1 Visa allows for freedom of travel into and out of the United States.

            4.         There is no annual limit.

            5.         The athletes spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years old) can accompany the athlete using a P-4 Visa, but unlike the +-1 Visa holder, P-4 Visa holders cannot accept employment in the United States.

GREEN CARD OPTIONS

            Unlike other non-immigrant (temporary) visas, P Visa holders are not required to have the intention of returning to their home country.  This allows the P-1 Visa athlete the option of applying for a Green Card while in the United States without jeopardizing his/her status.

REQUIREMENTS FOR P-1 ATHLETES

            P-1 Athletic Visas are available only to athletes that have achieved international recognition as “outstanding” for a long and continuous period of time.  In other words, the athlete must have earned an internationally recognized reputation in his/her sport.  For example, this could include a contract with a major league sports team or league and proof of at least 2 of the following:

            1.         Previous significant participation with a major United States sports league.

            2.         Participation in an international competition with a national team.

            3.         Previous significant participation with a United States college in intercollegiate competition.

            4.         A written statement from an official of a major United States sports league or from the governing body of the sport that explains the athlete’s international recognition.

            5.         A written statement from the sports media or recognized expert concerning the athlete’s international recognition.

            6.         Evidence of the athlete’s international ranking.

            7.         Evidence of the athlete’s significant honors or awards in the sport.

PROCESS FOR OBTAINING A P-1 VISA

            The first step in obtaining a P-1 Visa is to have the United States employer file a visa petition on behalf of the athlete.  After the initial visa petition is filed, the athlete then files his/her own visa application.

            The United States employer’s visa petition must prove that the athlete:

            1.         Qualifies for the P Visa status.

            2.         That the job is of a high enough level to warrant someone with the athlete’s advanced or specialized skills.

            3.         Has the correct background and skills to match the job.

            Lastly, all P Visa petitions must include a consultation report from an appropriate peer group, labor union and/or management council concerning the nature of the work and the athlete’s qualifications.  This “opinion” must explain the athlete’s reputation and the nature of the event in the United States and why the athlete is essential.