The P category of visas is for foreign nationals who intend to come to the United States to perform either in athletics or entertainment. It is the visa of choice for those who may not have the “extraordinary ability” necessary to qualify for an O visa. If you are an entertainer or group of entertainers seeking to perform in the United States, you should be aware of the different types of P visas available and the requirements for each category.
P-1 visas are available for entertainers who will be performing in a group. An individual will generally not be eligible for a P-1 visa. A P-1 visa will be granted to an entertainment group based on its own international reputation. They must be “internationally recognized” which is defined as “having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country.”
Dance troupes, orchestras, acting companies, and vocal groups are examples of the types of entertainment groups that seek P-1 visas. The group must be internationally recognized for a sustained and substantial period of time, and the individual members must have a sustained and substantial relationship with the group. This is usually considered at least one year. There are exceptions.
P-2 visas are available for those entertainers who are coming to the United States as part of a reciprocal exchange program. They do not require the level of success required of a P-1 visa. There must be a reciprocal exchange agreement. P-2 visa applicants must have skills similar to those of the U.S. entertainers who will be performing outside the country.
P-3 visas are available to those entertainers, individually or as a group, who will participate or perform in a culturally unique program. It does not require a high standard of performance, but they must be comparable to U.S. performers. The cultural program may be commercial or non-commercial. Culturally unique has been defined as a style or artistic expression, methodology, or medium, which is unique to a particular country, nation, society, class ethnicity, religion, tribe, or other group of persons.
Spouses and minor children of P visa holders will be granted a P-4 visa.
If you are an entertainer or group seeking a P visa, it can be helpful to have an experienced and trusted visa attorney on your side. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.