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P-2 Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program

Alert: On May 29, 2020, USCIS announced that premium processing would resume for Form I-129 and Form I-140 petitions in phases over the month of June. Read more here: USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Certain Petitions.

The P-2 classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and an organization or organizations in one or more foreign countries.

Eligibility Criteria

You must be an artist or entertainer (Individual or a group) entering the United States through a government recognized reciprocal exchange program. In addition, you must possess skills comparable to those of the United States artists and entertainers taking part in the program outside the United States.

As of April 7, 2020, USCIS has officially approved five Reciprocal Exchange Agreements:

  • The American Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Musicians in Canada
  • Actors Equity Association of the United States and Canadian Actors Equity Association
  • Actors Equity Association of the United States and British Actors Equity
  • The Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and the Screen Actor Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) (ACTRA-SAG-AFTRA)
  • International Council of Air shows and the Canadian Air Show Association

Application Process

In order for you to qualify for a P-2 Visa, a sponsoring labor organization in the United States that negotiated the reciprocal exchange agreement, your sponsoring organization, or your U.S. employer must file Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker. For more information about the Form, I-129, see the “Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker” page.

Supporting Documents

The Form I-129 must include the following documents:

  • Written consultation by an appropriate labor organization
  • Copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the sponsoring U.S. organization(s) and the organization(s) in a foreign country which will receive the U.S. artists or entertainers;
  • Statement from the sponsoring organization describing the reciprocal exchange of United States artists or entertainers as it relates to the specific petition for which classification is sought;
  • Evidence that you and the U.S. artists or entertainers subject to the reciprocal exchange agreement have comparable skills and that the terms and conditions of employment are similar; and
  • Evidence that an appropriate labor organization in the United States was involved in negotiating, or has concurred with, the reciprocal exchange of U.S. and foreign artists or entertainers.

Note: If the events or performances will take place in multiple locations, an itinerary must be submitted. The itinerary must list the dates and locations of the events.

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, page.

Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
Initial Period of Stay Extension of Stay
Time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed one year Increments of up to one year in order to continue or complete the same event, competition or performance for which you were admitted.

Form I-129 is used to apply for a change of status, extension of stay or change of employment.

For more information see the Extend my Stay and Change my Nonimmigrant Status pages.

Change of Employer

You may change employers, but only after your new employer has filed a new petition with USCIS requesting permission to employ you and extend your stay. You may not start employment with the new employer until the petition has been approved.

Family of P-2 Visa Holders

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 classification. 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- 2 artist, entertainer or group and who perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and that are essential to the successful performance of services for the principal P-2, are eligible for P-2S classification. Support personnel may include stagehands, trainers, or those persons having critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed.

The U.S. employer must file a separate petition for support personnel. The petition must include the following documents:

  • Consultation from an appropriate labor organization with expertise in the area of the support person's skill
  • Evidence of the support person's qualifications to perform the support services
  • Statement describing the support person’s prior and current essentially, critical skills and experience with the P-2 artist, entertainer, or group
  • Copy of a written contract between the employer and the support person, or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the support person will be employed.


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