The P-1 visa classification provides for admission into the United States of certain athletes, entertainers and artists, and essential support personnel. Individual members of the entertainment industry are not eligible for the P-1 visa classification, but individual athletes are. For members of the entertainment industry, the visa will be issued for a specific event only. However, individual athletes may be admitted for five years and a team for a period of six months.
The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.
The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.
Do you qualify for the O or P visa? What next?
Your sponsor is required to file a petition, Form I-129 O or P, on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your sponsor or employer should contact the USCIS for further information. In the case of an alien who is traditionally self-employed or who uses agents to arrange short-term employment with numerous employers, an agent may file the petition with the USCIS. An agent may also file a petition on behalf of a foreign employer.
It is the responsibility of the USCIS to determine whether the alien qualifies for O or P visa category. Any questions concerning eligibility should be addressed to the appropriate USCIS office.
What happens once the petition has been approved by USCIS?
If an O or P petition has been approved in your name, you will be required to apply for a visa before traveling to the United States. The Notice of Action, form I-797A or B, is not valid for travel unless accompanied by the appropriate visa.
Spouses, Children & Partners
Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require derivative O-3 or P-4 visas. Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
O-3 & P-4 verses F-1
There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of an O or P visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the U.S.; they may study on derivative O-3 or P-4 visas. However, if they are qualified, they may apply for the F-1 visa. If you have school age children, you should refer to the regulations governing the issuance of F-1 visas.
Working on an O-3 or P-4 visa
The holder of an O-3 or P-4 visa may not work on a derivative visa. If he or she is seeking employment, the appropriate work visa will be required.