Working in the United States
P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete
The P-1 classification applies to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
Individual Athletes Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.
Athletic Teams Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.
To come to the United States your U.S. employer must file a Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker, accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation.
The Form I-129 must include the following documents:
Applying for a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Once the visa petition is approved, you can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate. For more information on visa application processing and issuance fees, see the “Department of State, travel.state.gov” link to the right.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
For additional information on extension of status for P-1 nonimmigrant individual athletes and P-1 essential support personnel see the memos: “Procedures for Applying the Period of Authorized Stay for P-1 Nonimmigrant Individual Athletes” and “Procedures for Applying the Period of Authorized Stay for P-1S Nonimmigrant Individual Athletes’ Essential Support Personnel” at the link on the right.
Change of employer
You may change employers, but only after your new employer has filed a new Form I-129 with USCIS requesting permission to employ you and extend your stay. You may not commence employment with the new employer until the Form I-129 has been approved.
Family of P-1A Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 status. Your dependents may not engage in employment, but may attend school or college.
Essential Support Personnel
Essential Support Personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P-1 athlete (team) and who perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker, are eligible for P-1 classification. Support personnel may include coaches, scouts, trainers and other team officials and referees.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/04/2010
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