In general, P visas are defined to encourage different people to present their artistic, entertaining, and sports skills in this country and to contribute to cultural exchange. The USA Artist visa or P2 visa is for people who want to travel to the United States for a short time for artistic or entertaining performances. This performance can be done as a group or individually under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in a foreign country. Applicants for this visa do not need to have significant national or international achievements. In this case, the nature of the reciprocal exchange agreement is essential.
This article will focus on the requirements of the P2 visa, qualifications, application process, and other details related to this visa.
What are the requirements of a USA Artist Visa?
Artists and entertainers can enter the United States in groups or individually through a government-recognized exchange program, provided that their skills are comparable to those of the artists who taking part in the program.
As of April 7, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has officially approved five reciprocal exchange agreements:
- The American Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Musicians in Canada
- Actors Equity Association of the United States and Canadian Actors Equity Association
- Actors Equity Association of the United States and British Actors Equity
- The Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and the Screen Actor Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) (ACTRA-SAG-AFTRA)
- International Council of Air shows and the Canadian Air Show Association
How to apply for the USA Artist Visa?
The applicant cannot apply for this visa alone. The employers must first accomplish the sponsorship process. In other words, they must submit forms and documents to the USCIS. If the organization issues the necessary approvals, the USA artist visa applicant can go through the rest of the application process.
First, the employer or the sponsor must submit I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to the USCIS.
One of the following organizations can file this petition:
- A sponsoring labor organization in the US that negotiated the reciprocal exchange agreement
- Your sponsoring organization
- Your US employer
In addition to Form I-129, the employer or sponsor must provide the following documents:
- Written consultation by a relevant labor organization
- Copy of the exchange agreement between the sponsoring US organization(s) and the organization(s) in a foreign country which will accept the US artists or entertainers;
- Evidence that you and the American artists and entertainers who are going to participate in the program have comparable skills. You also need to show that your employment conditions are the same;
- You need to prove that an appropriate labor organization in the United States was involved in the negotiations.
- If you are planning to perform in several different locations, you must provide your itinerary. In this plan, you should list items such as dates and places of performance.
After the employer submits the petition, you will have to wait a while to process the documents by the USCIS. If the organization approves your appeal, then you can do the rest of the visa application process at the US Embassy in your home country.
The steps to be taken by the applicants are:
1. Complete the Form DS-160: All nonimmigrant visa applicants must complete this form.
2. Pay the visa application fee: The visa application fee is $ 190. Without this payment, your application and documents will not be processed. Also note that this fee is non-refundable, whether your application is approved or rejected. Depending on the relationship between your home country and the United States, you may have to pay for visa issuance.
3. Prepare documents: The applicants need to submit the following documents:
- Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of departure.
- Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Applicant Photo.
- The approval of Form I-129
4. Schedule an interview appointment: All applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must be interviewed at the embassy. You must apply to schedule your appointment time for the interview. Since the workload of embassies varies, we recommend that you schedule as soon as possible. Once the interview is scheduled, you will get a confirmation letter containing information such as the interview date and place. You must bring this letter with you on the day of the interview.
5. Participate in a visa interview: As mentioned, the interview will take place at the embassy. You must be at the embassy on time for the interview.
How much this visa is valid?
The initial validity of this visa is up to one year. After the visa expires, if your performance has not yet been completed and you need more time, it will be extended for another year to complete your event. To renew this visa, Form I-129 must be completed and resubmitted.
Can the visa holders change their employer?
Yes. You can change your employer if the new employer submits a new application to the USCIS. You will not be permitted to change your employer unless this petition is approved.
Can the P2 visa holders bring their family members to the United States?
Yes, you can bring your dependents to the United States on a P4 visa. Family members include:
- Unmarried children under 21 years
Your family members cannot work in the United States but can enroll in college or school.
Those who accompany a P-2 artist, entertainer, or group can apply for a P-2S visa. These people can accompany artists if American workers cannot provide the services provided by them. On the other hand, the services of these people must be essential for a successful performance. Support personnel can include the following:
- People having valuable knowledge of the specific services to be performed.
The employer must submit a separate petition for support personnel. The following documents must be sent along with the request:
- Documents confirming the applicant’s eligibility to provide support services
- A contract between the employer and the support person or a summary of the agreement under which the support person will be employed
- A letter explaining the support person’s prior and current critical skills and experience with the P2 artist, entertainer, or group
- Consultation from an appropriate labor organization
Let’s sum up …
This article discussed important details regarding the USA artist visa including the application process, requirements, cost, and extension procedure. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.