US P1 Visa Application, Processing Time & Requirements


US P1 visa is for an internationally recognized athlete or athletic team seeking to come to the US to compete or participate in the event of international standing. Professional athletes are not the only ones who can use this visa to enter the United States. Entertainment groups, performers, and cultural coaches can also apply for this visa.

In this article, we cover all detail about the application process, the requirements, costs, and how to get a Green Card regarding a P1 visa.


What is the US P1 visa?

Athletes who want to come to the US to enhance their athletic performance temporarily can apply for this visa. Athletes can either do this by themselves or with a team. Moreover, the level of their performance has to be internationally known too.

Entertainer or entertainment group recognized as leading, who intend to perform within the US (whether single event or tour) can also apply for this permission. People who work in a circus are an example of an entertainment group.

P1 visa is divided into two categories:

  • P1A visa: is for internationally recognized athletes or sports teams.
  • P1B visa: is for individuals or members of an internationally recognized entertainment group.

The sports team applying for this visa must have at least two members. The musical band also includes a soloist and musicians who are eligible for visas. The group must have been established at least one year ago, and ¾ of the team members must have been part of it for at least one year. Recently created teams can hardly prove their eligibility to receive this visa. All applicants for a P1A or P1B visa, whether athletes or entertainers, must be recognized nationally or internationally to be qualified for this permission. The P1 visa allows its holders to participate in some events such as:

  • Athletic seasons
  • Entertainment events or tours
  • Sports tournaments

People who receive a US P1 visa to perform as a team in the United States cannot perform individually.
Holders of this visa can enroll in part-time courses a well. Also, as long as the visa is valid, the holders can travel freely in and out of the United States. Their spouse and unmarried children under 21 can also come to the US with a P4 visa to accompany them.


What are the requirements of a US P1 visa?

Applicants for a P1A visa should consider the following:

  • Athletes must participate in the major US sports league.
  • They need to participate in a US college, university, or intercollegiate sports league.
  • Athletes must have competed in a national or international level tournament or event.
  • Players must have been nationally or internationally placed in a high position.
  • Athletes must have won a national or international award to prove their superiority.

P1B applicants must also be internationally recognized and able to meet the following requirements:

  • The entertainer or group has had significant gains in terms of ratings, records, video sales, or box office sales.
  • They must have accomplishments described in trade journals or major newspapers.
  • The entertainment group should be known among critics, government agencies, or other field experts who can testify to the individual’s or group’s successes.
  • Entertainment groups should have a good income because of the activities they do.


What documents must be prepared for a US P1 visa?

Whether you are applying for a P1A or a P1B, you must provide the following documents:

  • The approval of Form I-797
  • Employer’s letter containing explanations about the performance and events
  • Contract with employer or sponsor
  • Prove that the athlete, entertainer, or team members are nationally and internationally recognized
  • Provide civil documents such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate (If your family members accompany you under a P4 visa)


What is the application process for a P1 visa?

Now that we know what a P1 visa is and who is qualified for it let’s see how to apply. Athletes and entertainers alone cannot apply for a P1 visa themselves. They need to be sponsored by an employer or organization in the United States. So first of all, finding a sponsor and starting the sponsorship process is important.
The sponsor must send documents and forms to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and receive approval. After the issuance of the approval, the next steps of the application process will be initiated by the applicant.

A sponsor or employer must do the following:

The employer submits form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to the USCIS. This petition is fundamental permission for P1 visa applicants to apply for a visa. The request costs $ 460 and must not be submitted earlier than six months before the scheduled performance. Depending on whether you are applying as a group or an individual, the employer will choose the type of petition.

Applicants for a P1 visa must have proof that they are eligible for the visa. These documents must be submitted to the USCIS by the employer. Applicants for a P1A visa must provide a contract with an American league or sports team. Besides, other documents include:

  • Proof that you are going to participate in a major US sports event
  • Demo
  • Proof of the high ranking of the team or athlete, particularly if the sport has an international ranking system.
  • Proof that you intend to participate at international levels in a national team.
  • Prove that you and your team have won significant awards.
  • Evidence that you’ve participated in a past competition for a US university or college.
  • A written declaration from an expert or a sports media member reveals that you are known at an international level.

Applicants must also present the following documents for a P1B visa to prove their eligibility to obtain a visa:

  • A letter listing the names of all the members of the group and the date they were hired
  • Contracts of the group with the sponsors
  • Travel plan including dates and duration of each event
  • Prove that the group demands a high payment for their services in comparison with other teams in the same industry
  • Documents related to the international appreciation of the group from newspapers, and magazines
  • Proof of the achievements of the team during recent events such as receipts or video sales
  • Proof of anyone in the group with exceptional achievements or recognition from government agencies, organizations, experts, or critics in the field

It takes 2 to 8 weeks to evaluate and process the documents after the employer applies to the USCIS. After the application is approved, the USCIS issues Form I-797C, Notice of Action to sponsors and applicants. Athletes or entertainers can then complete the rest of the visa application process.


Athletes or entertainers must do the following:

Applicants for a US P1 visa must complete the following steps:

1. Complete the Online Application Form: This form is required for all US non-immigrant visa applicants. It contains questions about your personal information and the purpose of your trip to the United States. To complete this form, you can visit the Consular Electronic Application Center website.

2. Pay the visa application fee: The P1 visa cost is $190. Without payment, the visa application will not be processed. On the other hand, this cost is non-refundable. Depending on the relationship between your country and the United States, you may have to pay for visa issuance.

3. Schedule a visa 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.

4. Prepare documents: you must provide the following documents:

  • The approval of Form I-797
  • Employer’s letter containing explanations about the performance and events
  • Contract with employer or sponsor
  • Prove that the athlete, entertainer, or team members are nationally and internationally recognized
  • Provide civil documents such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate if your family members accompany you under a P4 visa

5. Attend an interview: As mentioned, the interview will take place at the embassy. You must be at the embassy on time for the interview.


How long does it take to be evaluated the documents and issued a visa?

Applicants for this visa typically have to wait between 3 and 6 months. If you want your visa application processed faster, you can pay for premium processing. It costs about $1225. If you pay this fee, the result of your visa will be determined within 15 days. If you are not notified within 15 days, the money will be refunded to you.

Infographic US P1 Visa Application, Processing Time & RequirementsHow Long is a P1 visa valid?
P1 visa duration varies depending on whether you apply for this visa individually or as a group. If you are an athlete and apply for this visa individually, your visa will be valid for up to 5 years. You can then extend your visa for another five years. You must return to your home country after this period has expired. If you apply for a visa as a team, your visa will be valid for one year, and you can extend your stay for another year by renewing your visa. For fundamental personnel, the primary validity is one year, but they may increase their stay for an additional five years.

For entertainers, either in a group or individual, the visa will be valid for up to a year. If the group performance is not completed by the end of the visa validity, the visa will be extended for another year.

Applicants for this visa can also work for more than one employer, provided that each employer file a separate petition. On the other hand, if a person or team intends to change their employer, the new employer or sponsor must submit a new appeal.


Can a P1 visa holder receive a Green Card?

If you want to get a Green Card under the P visa, you will face many difficulties. Because during the visa application process, you declare that you do not intend to reside permanently in the United States.  If you have a P visa and want to get a residence permit, you can consider one of the following options:

  • Marry an American citizen or legal resident
  • If your family members live in the United States, you can apply through them.
  • Change your current status to another visa, such as an H1B  visa.
  • If you are a professional athlete with extraordinary abilities, you can apply for the EB-1 or EB-2 Green Card.


Can the holders of a P1 visa bring their dependents to the US?

Yes. All holders of P1, P2, and P3 visas can bring their children and spouses to the United States under the P4 visa. Dependents of P visa holders can obtain their visas at the same time as the principal applicant or after him/her. Holders of a P4 visa can live and study in the United States but are not allowed to work.


What is the difference between a P1 and a P2 visa?

The United States issues the P2 visa for artists and entertainers who intend to attend the government allowed programs. It is temporary work permission for nonimmigrants who have come to perform in this country through government reciprocal exchange programs between the organization in their own country and the US.

Applicants for this visa must provide the following documents:

  • A contract setting the reciprocal exchange program
  • Evidence that artists involved in the program have similar skills and employment conditions
  • Evidence that the Labor Organization is part of the negotiations in this program


What is the difference between a P1 and a P3 visa?

The P3 visa enables foreign nationals to come to the US to perform, teach, or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a culturally unique program. The application process for this visa are similar to those for a P1 visa, but applicants must also provide the following documents:

  • It must be shown that the performance or training provided is culturally unique.
  • Evidence must be provided that the coach has sufficient skill in that cultural event.


Let’s sum up …

This article reviewed all the details of the P-1 visa, including the requirements, application process, processing time, and cost. 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 the applicants.

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Comments (5)

  • Patricia Reply

    I had no idea I should have won a national award to be eligible for a US P1 visa. I wish I had 🙁

    April 18, 2021 at 2:51 pm
  • Shahid12 Reply

    Hey there
    My husband has applied for a P1 visa, and he is a nationally recognized athlete. How can I accompany him to the US?

    June 9, 2021 at 7:32 am
    • Support Reply

      Thanks for leaving a comment on our website. You can travel to the US with your husband under a US P4 visa.

      June 9, 2021 at 8:08 am
  • Jessica Reply

    How Long is a P1 visa valid?

    July 18, 2021 at 3:17 pm
    • Support Reply

      P1 visa duration varies depending on whether you apply for this visa individually or as a group. If you are an athlete and apply for this visa individually, your visa will be valid for up to 5 years. You can then extend your visa for another five years.

      July 18, 2021 at 3:19 pm

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