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P-1 Visa for Individual Athletes

by Ally Bolour | Aug 13, 2020

P-1 visa for Individual Athletes of International Recognition:

A P-1 visa is a perfect visa for an athlete who has achieved international recognition in their competitive sport, has paying sponor(s), and seeks to enter the U.S. to complete in tournaments and/or competitions.  The athlete can be a professional or amateur so long as he or she performs at an internationally recognized level of performance.

International recognition means “a high level of achievement … evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent such achievement is renowned, leading or well-known in more than one country.” As such, a surfer, golfer, bass angler, tennis player and the like can meet this standard if she or she can show significant finishes in tournaments in more than one country.  Typically in his or her home country and in the U.S.

The individual athlete must be seeking to enter temporarily and solely for the purpose of performing in a “competition, event or performance.” This includes short vacations, promotional appearances and incidental stopovers, and can include an entire season, itinerary and contract.  Therefore, the individual athlete can be granted status in the U.S. in P-1 status for the entire tournament season. 

Spouses and children can enter as P-4. 

The Petition can be filed by U.S. employer, sponsor, agent or foreign employer through U.S. agent. The individual athlete must show (1) the athlete is international recognized; (2) athletic competition has a distinguished reputation; and (3) competition requires participation of an athlete with international reputation. 

P-1 athletes may be admitted for up to 5 years with an extension up to 5 years.

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