Under the Trump administration, it is becoming more difficult for foreign-born athletes who want to work or live in the United States. These athletes are among the thousands of prospective immigrants who claim that they have exceptional levels of achievement. They face the hurdle of the administration’s efforts to more tightly control immigration.
P visas allow athletes and artists to live and work in the United States for the duration of their visas. P visas also allow spouses and children of these individuals to live in the U.S. In addition, a P visa can allow for coaches and trainers to accompany the P visa holder. Under the Trump administration, P visa holders have had to jump through more hoops to get approval. From the end of the fiscal year 2016 to the fiscal year 2019, the share of petitions that have been asked to provide additional evidence has gone up approximately 20%.
The administration has taken a hardline approach to establishing who is extraordinary under the P visa requirements. The Wall Street Journal reviewed dozens of denied appeals for cases involving athletes over the past two years. The paper found that standards for what was considered extraordinary varied from adjudicator to adjudicator and that there didn’t seem to be a consistent approach. Some adjudicators seemed particularly skeptical of athletes where their sports involved a team component.
Some examples of denied visas include the swimmer with top 10 finishes in European championships who was denied because he hadn’t shown that these wins constituted an award for excellence. Another athlete, Canadian-born ice dancer Christina Carreira, was denied a green card because they determined that her medals in the U.S. junior ice dance competition and her silver medal in the world junior championship didn’t constitute internationally recognized prizes.
With all of these new restrictions and hurdles being faced by athletes, it has become even more important to consult with an immigration attorney before filing a P visa petition. An attorney can help put together the best and most complete application and avoid a denial.
If you are applying for a P visa, you should consult with a trusted immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process and we’re not afraid to think outside the box. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.