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P-1 Status

The P-1 classification is to established entertainment groups, individual athletes, and athletic teams. P-1S classification is allowed for “essential support” personnel.

1) P-1 Requirements

Individual athletes, athletic teams, and entertainment groups generally must meet the basic standard of international recognition—meaning “a high level of achievement in the 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.

Athletes and Athletic Teams (P-1A): 

  • Individual athletes and athletic teams must include with their petition a tendered contract with a major U.S. sports league or team, or a tendered contract with an individual sport “commensurate with international recognition in that sport, if such contracts are normally executed in the sport,”
  • AND evidence supporting at least two of the following:
    1. Significant participation in a prior U.S. major league season
    2. Participation in international competition with a national team
    3. Significant participation in a prior U.S. college/university season in intercollegiate competition
    4. Written statement from a major U.S. sports league or official of the sport’s governing body detailing the foreign national’s or team’s international recognition
    5. Written statement from the sports media or a recognized expert respecting international recognition
    6. International ranking
    7. Significant honors/awards in the sport

Entertainers (P-1B):

  • Individuals who belong to an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
  • P-1B status is granted on the basis of the group’s international reputation, not on the basis of individual achievement
  • Evidence Must Include:
    1. Documentation that the group has been established and performing regularly for a period of a least one year;
    2. A statement from the petitioner listing each member of the group and the exact date for which each member has been employed on a regular basis by the group; and;
    3. Documentation that the group has been internationally recognized in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.

Accompanying Personnel (P-1S)

All P categories allow for “essential support” personnel.  An essential support person is defined as “a highly skilled, essential person” who is an “integral part” of the performance of the P principal because she or he performs support services that cannot readily be performed by a U.S. worker and that are essential to the success of the performance.

2) How soon can I start?

Processing times for the P-1 petition vary according to the availability of information needed to prepare the petition, government interruptions and backlogs at USCIS. On average, the P-1 visa petition process will take about 30-60 days, but P-1 petition preparation is typically lengthy due to the documentation requirements.

Individuals who are outside the U.S. must apply for a P-1 visa stamp at a U.S. consular post abroad in order to enter the U.S. in P-1 status. Applicants must bring the P-1 petition approval notice from USCIS to the consular post in order to obtain the P-1 visa.

3) Extension of P-1 visa status

Extensions of P-1 status should be filed during the six-month period prior to expiration of current stay,and are granted in one year increments. The employee’s qualifications and the employer’s continued need to employ an individual in the offered position must be established anew (and fully documented) with each extension application. If the extension application is filed prior to expiration of the current authorized stay, the individual will have continued work authorization for up to 240 days while the application is pending. There may be restrictions on international travel while the extension application is pending.


A. CORPORATE (prospective U.S. employer):

  1. Certificate and Articles of Incorporation;
  2. Employer’s Federal Tax Identification Number;
  3. Current annual report and/or audited financial statement, or federal corporate income tax return;
  4. Any available promotional pamphlets and brochures which describe the company and its various products, service, etc;
  5. Explanation of the nature of the events or activities with the beginning and ending dates
  6. A complete job description for the individual’s proposed engagement — including a list of all contracts, agreements, and promotional materials regarding the competition(s)., and salary and benefits information;
  7. Itinerary with dates and locations of events;
  8. Copies of any written contracts between you and your employer (the petitioner), or a summary of the terms of any oral agreement
  9. Copies of any contracts or agreements related to the competition(s);
  10. Full name and title of contact person at company who will coordinate paperwork and the full name and title of the company’s authorized signatory for documents;

B. INDIVIDUAL (Foreign national seeking P-1 Classification):

  1. Completed Immigration Questionnaire (CK Form) and Working Visa Addendum (CK Form);
  2. Individual’s passport biographic page, I-94, and visa page and all prior immigration approval notices (Forms I-797, I-20, EADs, etc.);
  3. Individual’s resume, curriculum vitae, etc.;
  4. Copy of professional licenses, professional society memberships or cards, etc.;
  5. Written statement from an official of the governing body of the sport which details individual is internationally recognized;
  6. Written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how individual is internationally recognized; and
  7. Depending on type of P-1, documentation establishing that individual and/or group has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.