P Visas for Athletes and Entertainers
Music City is about more than just country music, but if your immigration status does not allow you to earn income from your performances, federal immigration regulations may have you singing the blues. If you are an athlete or an entertainer and you are not currently a U.S. resident, are you able to come to the United States lawfully to work or to perform for crowds? Generally speaking, there are different visa categories for different types of persons. In fact, there are numerous types of work visas available for athletes and entertainers who are not permanent residents but who want to work in the country. There is a particular category of visa for these workers: the P category visas.
P visas can take a number of months, and it is important to begin early. At Ozment Law, we are committed to helping professional performers and athletes throughout the Nashville area with the immigration assistance they need. We will tell you more about the types of P visas that are available and the process for obtaining a P visa.
Learning More About the P Visa
Under federal law, a person who is a citizen of another country and has no plans of becoming a U.S. citizen may be able to obtain a P visa in order “temporarily to perform services for an employer or a sponsor.”
More specifically, the P visa is designed for a non-citizen “coming to the United States to perform services as an internationally recognized athlete, individually or part of a group or team, or member of an internationally recognized entertainment group . . . who is coming to perform as an artist or entertainer under a reciprocal exchange program” or as a non-citizen “who is coming solely to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.” The meaning of “artist” or “entertainer” can be tricky sometimes, so it is wise to consult a qualified immigration attorney.
In some cases, the spouse and/or dependents of a person eligible for a P visa may also be eligible to receive a P visa. What are the different types of P visas?
The language from the federal statute provides a long list of individuals who may be eligible for a P visa. The following provides more information about who may be eligible for each type of visa:
- P-1 Visa: Athlete or Member of Athletic Team
- Either an internationally recognized athlete coming individually or as part of a sports group or team, or a member of an international entertainment group.
- P-2 Visa: Member of an Entertainment Group
- Artist or entertainer who is coming to the U.S. to perform.
- P-3 Visa: Culturally Unique Artist or Entertainer
- Artist or entertainer coming solely to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.
- A “culturally unique” artist or entertainer can come to the United States to perform as either an individual or a group.
- A non-immigrant may qualify for a P-3 visa where the work involves “developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation.” Additionally, the applicant “must be coming to the United States to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of your art form.” The program may be of a commercial or noncommercial nature. Arguably, this definition may include a variety of entertainers.
- P-3 visas are also available to essential support staff, such as stage crews, tour staff, producers, coaches, scouts, trainers, team officials, and referees.
- P-4 Visa: Spouse or Dependents
- Spouse and children who are under the age of 21 of a person who holds a P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa.
The process for obtaining a P visa begins with a petition to USCIS and an application for a P visa. In order to get a P visa, the non-citizen athlete or entertainer will need information about the work she or he will be performing in the U.S., and a Tennessee immigration attorney can help. We can assist you in gathering documentation to support your application. We can also help if an athlete or performing artist needs to change employers or needs to extend his or her stay beyond the initial period authorized by USCIS. Contact Ozment Law at 615-321-8888 or schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Hablamos español. Nous parlons français.