Artists and athletes are essential to healthy cultural exchange. The global community benefits greatly from the work of each country’s greatest thinkers and performers. P-1 visas are issued to entertainers, circus artists, and athletes who wish to work in the U.S.

Outstanding athletes may apply for this visa in order to compete in the U.S., either as individuals or as members of an internationally recognized athletic team.

Entertainment groups with an outstanding international reputation can be granted P-1 classification as a unit; however, individual entertainers within these groups cannot apply for separate visas.

The employer of P-1 visa applicants who are athletes may be asked to provide the following:

  • A letter from “an appropriate labor organization” (USCIS).
  • A contract with a major U.S. sports league or team.
  • Proof of “significant participation in a prior season with a major United States sports league” (USCIS).
  • Proof that the applicant has taken part in “international competition with a national team” (USCIS).
  • Proof of “significant participation in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition” (USCIS).
  • Letters demonstrating that the athlete or team is internationally renowned.
  • Proof that the individual or team is ranked, “if the sport has international rankings; or [that] the alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport” (USCIS).

The employer of P-1 visa applicants who are entertainers may be asked to provide the following:

  1. A letter from “an appropriate labor organization” (USCIS).
  2. Proof “that the group has been established and performing regularly for at least one year” (USCIS).
  3. Proof that the group has received ” international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field, or evidence of at least 3 of the following:
  • The group has performed and will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
  • The group has achieved international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in its field, as evidenced by reviews in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines or other published material;
  • The group has performed and will perform services as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
  • The group has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as evidenced by indicators such as ratings, box office receipts, record, cassette or video sales, and other achievements as reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications;
  • The alien has received significant recognition for achievements from critics, organizations, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the alien’s achievements; or
  • The group has commanded and will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for “services comparable to others similarly situated in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence” (USCIS).