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Summary of Requirements
for P-1 VisaS

The P-1A visa for athletes provides a great alternative to an O visa petition for athletes. P-1A has been expanded to allow minor league and amateur athletes an opportunity to qualify for the visa under certain circumstances.

It is critical to this designation to show that the person applying for the visa performs at a degree of skill substantially above that ordinarily encountered in the field. P-1 athletes need to document this by evidencing that they are internationally recognized and going to compete or participate in an athletic competition or league with a distinguished reputation.

Evidence relating to the athletic competition or league that the athlete will participate in as well as documentary evidence showing the athletes distinguished abilities, such as participation with an international team in the past, competitions within the U.S. on a collegiate level, as well as individual rankings and supporting statements from experts in the field, are all types of supporting documentation critical to a P visa petition.

P-1A athletes are admitted to the U.S. for up to 5 years on the first visa, with one extension available for an additional five years.

Examples of Professional Sports Accepted Careers:
Soccer player/coach
Billiards professional player
Tennis player/coach
Race car driver/Motorcycle racer
Body builder
Football player
Ice hockey, figure skating
Dance professional

The 1992 regulations provided that an athlete or athletic team seeking P-1 classification should submit a tendered contact with a major sports league or team in the U.S., or in an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in the sport. In addition, at least two of the following types of documentation should be submitted (8 CFR section 214.2(p)(4)(ii)):

  1. Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season with a major U.S. sports league
  2. Evidence of having participated in international competition with a national team
  3. Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
  4. A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized
  5. A written statement from a member of the sports media or recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or team internationally recognized
  6. Evidence that the individual or team is ranked if the sport has international rankings
  7. Evidence that the alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport

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