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The P-1 visa is designed for athletes who are required to temporarily enter the United States to compete as an athlete in specific competitions, either individually, or with a team. The athlete must be coming to the United States in order to compete at a internationally recognized level.
The athlete must exhibit a substantial level of achievement and recognition. In addition, the athlete must be internationally recognized for their ability and must be coming to the United States for a specified period of time in order to compete in an event or competition.
The athlete must be coming to the U.S. in order to participate in an internationally recognized competition with their team. The athlete must be internationally recognized for their ability in order to qualify for the visa.
The U.S. employer must file Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. The employer must also submit the following required documentation:
The U.S. employer must also provide at least two of the following:
After the I-129 is approved, the athlete may apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. While at the embassy or consulate, the athlete must provide:
The P-1 visa for individual athletes is valid for a maximum of 5 years. P-1 visa renewals for individual athletes are limited to an additional 5 years. P-1 athletes may only remain in the United States for a total of 10 years. In order to obtain a P-1 extension, the athlete must show that additional time is needed in order to complete the sports event or competition mentioned in their initial P-1 visa application.
The P-1 visa for athletic groups is valid for one year. The athletic group may renew their P-1 visas for increments of one year in order to complete the stated event or competition in the U.S.
Essential Support Personnel can apply for a P-1 visa if they can show that they are essential for the success of the sports team or athletes that they support. Essential support personnel must show that the services that they provide for the athlete or team cannot be provided by U.S. workers. Common essential sport personnel include coaches, trainers, referees, and other team experts.
Like P-1 athletic groups, essential support personnel may remain in the United States for a maximum of one year. The visa may renewed in increments not exceeding 5 years in order to complete the stated activity. Essential sports personnel may remain in the U.S. for a total of 10 years. All extensions of stay are made by filing Form I-129.
The petitioner must complete and submit separate Form I-129s for the support personnel. Form DS-160 may submitted instead. In addition, the following supporting documentation is required:
The spouse and children under 21 years of age of a P-1 visa holder may enter the United States under P-4 nonimmigrant status. The spouse and children of P-1 visa holders may not obtain employment while in the United States. That is, P-4 visa holders are unable to obtain employment authorization.
If there is a change of employer, the new employer must file a new I-129 to employ the athlete and extend their stay. The P-1A visa holder is not allowed to work for the new employer until the new I-129 is approved.
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