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O-1 and P-1 visas for athletes

O-1 visa

For a small percentage of individuals possesses extraordinary ability

An O-1A holder is an individual alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and who is coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability; or (2) An O1-B holder is an alien who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in motion pictures and/or television productions, and who is coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary achievement.

Extraordinary achievement in science, education, business or athletics is defined as “a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top field of endeavor.” Extraordinary ability in the arts means “distinction.” This category requires the petition to establish only that the artist is prominent in his or her field of endeavor. Extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry means a very high level of accomplishment as evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered. The person must be “outstanding or notable”.

P-1 visa

The P-1 visa is a specialty short-term US visitor's visa available exclusively for athletes and their coaches or support staff.

A P-1 petition is authorized for an alien to be able to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as a part of a group or team, at an internationnaly recognized level of performance. The P-1 visa is applicable to an alien to be able to serve as an integral and essential part of the performance of, an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as being outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. Such aliens ordinarily must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least one year, providing functions integral to the performance of the group. The one-year relationship requirement does not apply to 25 percent of the performers of any group, nor to circus personnel, and may be waived by DHS in certain circumstances. It is important to note that an entertainment group may have as few as two (2) persons. If an individual entertainer is performing separate and apart from the group, that entertainer should apply for an O-1 petition separately from the rest of the group.

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