What is a P-1 Visa (A or B) for Individual or Team Athletes or Members of Entertainment Groups?

The P-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows individual or team athletes, along with, members of the entertainment industry to visit the US. It allows these individuals to compete, perform, promote themselves and to participate in athletics. Because both athletes and entertainers are covered by this visa, there are two different P-1 Visas: P-1A and P-1B. The P-1A Visa is for internationally recognized athletes or athletic teams. The P-1B Visa is for recognized entertainment groups.

What are the requirements for the P-1A Visa and the P-1B Visa?

A team or entertainment group must consist of two or more members. The group must have been formed at least a year ago and ¾ of the team members/ entertainers should have been on the team/ group for at least a year. Either the athletic teams, athletes or entertainment group must be internationally recognized.

P-1A Visa Specific Requirements:

In order to be eligible for a P-1A Visa, you must meet two of the following requirements:

  • Athletes must have participated in a US professional sports league.
  • Athletes must have participated in collegiate level sports.
  • Athletes must have participated in a national or international level competition/ event.
  • Athletes must have obtained a national or international award.

P-1B Visa Specific Requirements:

  • The group has had success in their ratings, records, videos or box office sales.
  • The group has been recognized in journals or major newspaper outlets.
  • The group has received recognition from critics, the government or other experts.
  • The group has received a high salary or a good compensation for the work that they engage in.

How to Apply for a P-1 Visa (A or B)

For either the P-1A or P-1B visa, the applicant cannot begin the process themselves. They must be sponsored by a US organization and must receive approval from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and receive approval. After approval is given, the applicant will need to file a DS-160 form, pay an application fee, schedule and complete a visa interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the P-1 Visa Processing Time?

Processing times vary for each application. The petition filed by the USCIS will typically take between 2 and 8 weeks for it to process. Once that petition has been approved, it will take between 3 and 6 months.

How long is my P-1 Visa Valid for ?

If you are an individual athlete, your P-1A Visa may be valid for a maximum of 5 years. It can then be extended for an additional 5 years. After that, the applicant must return to their home country.

If you are a group of athletes, your P-1A Visa is given for a maximum of a year. The visa can then be extended in yearly increments. The maximum amount of time that the visa is valid for 10 years. After which, they will need to return to their home country.

For the entertainer of the entertainment groups, your P-aB Visa is given for a maximum of one year and then can be extended in one year increments.

Can I change my P-1 Visa into a different visa?

It is difficult to change your P-1 visa to a difficult. However, if you marry, have family in the US or change your status to a H-1B visa, you will be able to apply for a Green Card. If you are an athlete with extraordinary ability you can apply for an EB-1 or EB-2 Green Card.

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes! You will need to have your spouse and children under 21 apply for an P-4 Visa. This type of visa does not allow the holder to work but they are able to study.


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