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How to Apply for a P-1A Athlete Visa

If you are a professional or amateur athlete who is interested in coming temporarily to the United States in order to participate in an athletic competition, you may apply for the P-1A athletic visa.

The following is an overview of how to apply for a P-1A visa.

Eligibility Criteria for P-1A Athlete Visa

If you are an internationally recognized individual athlete, you must be coming to the U.S. to participate in a specific athletic competition in a sport in which you have international recognition. You are internationally recognized if you have reached a high level of achievement in a sport in more than one country, based on your skill and accomplishments. It must be a great honor to participate in the competition(s) located in the U.S. because other internationally recognized athletes are also competing.

If you are part of an internationally recognized athletic team, you must be coming to the U.S. to participate in an athletic competition with a team that has achieved international recognition in a respective sport. It must be a great honor to participate in the competition(s) located in the U.S. because other internationally recognized teams are also competing.

If you are a professional athlete, you must be coming to the U.S. as an employee of (1) a team that is part of an association with at least six other professional sports teams whose total combined revenues are more than $10 million per year or (2) a minor league team that is part of such an association.

If you are an amateur athlete or coach, you must be coming to the U.S. as part of a team or franchise in the country and a member of a foreign association or league.

If you are a theatrical ice skater, you must be coming to the U.S. to participate as a professional or amateur athlete (whether as an individual or part of a group) in a specific theatrical ice-skating production or tour.

P-1A Application Process

In order to obtain a P-1 athlete visa, a U.S. employer, agent, or sponsor must file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) on your behalf and submit the proper fees and supporting documents. If a U.S. agent is filing Form I-129 for you to work with multiple employers in the country, the agent must be authorized to act as an agent for all your employers.

The following are the required documents your agent, employer, or sponsor needs to submit with your Form I-129:

  • An explanation of the athletic activities or events and a copy of the itinerary for such activities and events.
  • Copies of any written contracts containing your employment terms.
  • A written consultation from a proper labor organization (if such an organization exists), describing the work or services you must perform in the U.S. and your qualifications to perform the work. The labor organization may also turn in a letter of no objection to the approval of the petition.

For internationally recognized individuals and teams, you must submit a copy of your tendered contract with a major U.S. sports team or league or an individual sport commensurate that is internationally recognized in the sport, as well as at least two of the following:

  • Evidence of participating in a major U.S. sports league in a previous season
  • Evidence of participating in an international competition as part of a national team
  • Evidence of participating for a U.S. college or university team in a previous season
  • Evidence that you or your team is internationally ranked
  • Evidence that you or your team received a renowned award or honor in the sport
  • A written statement from an official of your league or sport, or a recognized expert or media member, who can detail how you or your team is internationally recognized.

For professional athletes, you must submit evidence that you will be working for a U.S. team that is a member of an association with at least six professional sports teams, such as the following:

  • Agreements or contracts that establish a team’s membership in the league or association
  • Letter from the league or association that confirms the team’s membership
  • A list from the league or association of the approved participating teams
  • Articles or reviews from established sports media outlets or personnel that demonstrate the team’s membership of a league or association
  • Tax documents, audited financial documents, or articles or reports from established media outlets of the total combined revenues of the league’s teams exceed $10 million per year
  • League or association rules and bylaws, statements from league or association officials on how the league or association regulates its games or exhibitions, or articles or reports from established media outlets or personnel that demonstrate the league’s ability to regulate its games or exhibitions

For professional athletes who are part of a minor league team, you must submit evidence that you will be working for a minor league team that is a member of qualifying association, such as the following:

  • Agreements or contracts
  • Letter from the league or association that confirms the team’s membership
  • Articles or reports from established media outlets or personnel that demonstrate the minor league team’s affiliation with a major league or association
  • Other documentation that shows a minor league team’s affiliation with a major league or association

For amateur athletes and coaches, you must submit evidence that you are coming to the U.S. to perform as an athlete or coach as part of a U.S. franchise or team that is a member of a foreign league or association, such as the following:

  • Contracts or other documentation from the league office showing the level of performance of the member teams
  • Articles or reports from established media outlets or personnel that demonstrate the level of performance of the league or association

For theatrical ice skaters, you must submit evidence that you will be performing individually or as part of a group in a theatrical ice-skating production, such as the following:

  • An itinerary of the performance schedule
  • Evidence of previous awards and accomplishments
  • Reviews and stories about the theatrical performance in established newspapers, journals, and other forms of sports media

If you are interested in applying for a P-1A visa in Fort Lauderdale, FL, or within the surrounding area, call Guerra Sáenz, PL at (888) 900-1748 or fill out our online contact form today to speak with an experienced immigration attorney!

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