“Performers” generally have their own nonimmigrant visa status seemingly based on principles of alliteration – the “P” nonimmigrant visa.
The P-1 Visa can be granted to athletes and entertainment groups who have foreign residences that they do not intend to abandon.
A P-1 Visa “athlete” must possess more than just a bit of athletic skill. Specifically, a person qualifies as an “athlete” where he/she: (a) will perform in competition, either individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance; (b) will perform as an athlete or a coach, as part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association of 15 or more amateur sports teams, if (1) the foreign league or association is the highest level of amateur performance of that sport in that foreign country; (2) participation in such league or association renders players ineligible, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, to earn a scholarship in, or participate in, that sport at a college or university in the United States under the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association; and a significant number of the individuals who play in such league or association are drafted by a major sports league or a minor league affiliate of such a sports league; or (c) a professional athlete or amateur athlete who performs individually or as part of a group in a theatrical ice skating production; or (d) is a professional athlete (ie. someone who is employed by a team that is a member of an association of 6 or more professional sports teams whose total combined revenues exceed $10,000,000 per year, where the association governs the conduct of its members and regulates the contests and exhibitions in which its member teams regularly engage; or any minor league team that is affiliated with such an association).
The law also requires that the P-1 Visa holder seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of performing as such an athlete (in a specific athletic competition) or if a pro or amateur athlete in a theatrical skating production, he/she seeks to enter the U.S. to perform in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour.
Similarly, P-1 “entertainment groups” are not just some run-of the-mill groups of performers. The law requires such persons to establish that they perform with or as an integral and essential part of the performance of an group that has been recognized internationally as being outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
A P-2 Visa is granted to individuals who perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, or is an integral part of the performance of such a group, and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of performing as such an artist or entertainer or with such a group under a reciprocal exchange program which is between an organization or organizations in the United States and an organization or organizations in one or more foreign states and which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers, or groups of artists and entertainers.
A P-3 Visa is granted to individuals who perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, or is an integral part of the performance of such a group, and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely to perform, teach, or coach as such an artist or entertainer or with such a group under a commercial or noncommercial program that is culturally unique.
A P-4 Visa is granted to the spouse or child of an alien described above and is accompanying, or following to join, the alien.
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