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Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background

A. Purpose

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and implementing regulations provide that qualifying nonimmigrant athletes and entertainers may be approved for P nonimigrant classification.

B. Background

The Immigration Act of 1990 added the O and P nonimmigrant classes to INA 101(a)(15).[1] These new classes provided for the admission of artists, athletes, entertainers, and other persons of extraordinary ability. However, as a result of the passage of the Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act of 1991, the use of the O and P classifications was delayed until April 1, 1992.[2] Before the enactment of these laws, artists, athletes, and other performers were admitted under the H-1 (distinguished merit and ability), H-2 (temporary agricultural or non-agricultural), or B-1 (temporary business visitor) categories. The 1990 amendments also revised the H classifications, effectively barring their continued use by most performing artists and athletes.

C. Legal Authorities


[^ 1] See the Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-649 (PDF) (November 29, 1990).

[^ 2] See Pub. L. 102-110 (PDF) (October 1, 1991).

[^ 3] The Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers, and Teams through Legal Entry (COMPETE) Act of 2006 amended INA 214(c)(4)(A). See the COMPETE Act of 2006, Pub. L. 109-463 (PDF) (December 22, 2006).


Legal Authorities

8 CFR 214.2(p) - Artists, athletes, and entertainers

INA 101(a)(15)(P) - Extraordinary ability in arts or athletics as part of a group

INA 204(i) - Definition of Professional Athlete

INA 214(a)(2)(B) - Admission (Stay)

INA 214(c) - Admission of nonimmigrants

INA 214(c)(1) - Importing Employer

INA 214(c)(4) - Petition of Importing Employer

INA 214(c)(5)(B) - Return Transportation

INA 214(c)(6) - Consultation Requirement

Pub. L. 102-110 (PDF) - Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act of 1991

Pub. L. 109-463 (PDF) - COMPETE Act of 2006


No appendices available at this time.


Technical Update - Incorporating Existing Guidance into the Policy Manual

This technical update is part of an initiative to move existing policy guidance from the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) into the Policy Manual. This update does not make major substantive changes but consolidates and incorporates existing AFM guidance into the Policy Manual, streamlining USCIS’ immigration policy while removing obsolete information. This guidance replaces Chapter 33 of the AFM, related appendices, and policy memoranda.

POLICY ALERT - Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to align with the Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule, published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020. This guidance becomes effective October 2, 2020. For information regarding implementation, see Appendix: 2020 Fee Rule Litigation Summary.

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Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF, 327.05 KB) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].