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P-1 Visa (Sports Visa) | Peterson Law | Kansas City Law Firm

For some, playing sports is a hobby.  For others, it is a way of life that helps them move forward every day.  Being able to showcase their talent and compete against the best athletes within their sport is what many thrive for.  Competing within the United States gives you the edge of competition you have been in search of.  Additionally, it allows you to showcase your talent in front of the most popular mainstream media outlets. 

At The Law Offices of Jamiel J. Peterson, P.C., we are dedicated to helping foreign athletes achieve their goal of competing at the highest levels within the United States.  Learn more about how you can come to the United States on a P Visa below.


What is a P-1 Visa?

The P Visa allows professional or amateur athletes to come into the United States temporarily solely to perform in a specific production, athletic competition or event, whether individually or within a group.  The P Visa requires that such individuals fall within the following categories:

  • An individual athlete at an internationally recognized level of performance; or
  • Part of a group or team with internationally recognized level of performance; or
  • A professional athlete; or
  • An athlete or coach, part of a team and/or franchise located within the United States and a member of a foreign league or association.

How long can I stay on a P-1 Visa?

The term of the P Visa is usually based on how long the performance or competition is scheduled to last.  The maximum stay is up to 5 years but may be extended to a maximum 10 years. 

What form is used to apply for a P-1 Visa?

The P Visa must be filed using Form I-129, Petition for a non-immigrant worker along with the appropriate fee and supporting documents.  It must be filed by your United States employer, agent, or sponsor; these individuals must also file Form I-129 to extend your stay within the United States or to request change of status.

What's required on a P-1 Visa petition?

When filing for a P Visa on your behalf, your employer, agent, or sponsor must submit the required documents with the petition.  Required evidence will include:

  • A written consultation from the labor organization that you will be working for describing the work or services that you will be performing while in the United States.  Additionally, your qualifications to perform the type of work described must be submitted as well.  The organization must also include within the written consultation that they do not object to the approval of your petition to receive a P Visa.  In some cases, a labor organization may not exist and this requirement can be waived;
  • Copy of written contract or summary of terms of employment
  • Description of events, details of term and any itinerary
  • Additional documents required for the P Visa


Individual Athletes

In order to come to the United States on the P Visa, athletes must be travelling to participate in an athletic competition in a sport that you are internationally recognized in.  International recognition is exemplified when you have a high level of achievement in a sport, demonstrated by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that of an ordinary athlete in that particular sport.  You should be able to provide that your achievement is leading and that you are well known in more than one country.  The event or competition you plan to participate in must be one that is distinguished and requires the participation of internationally recognized athletes. 

In addition to your contract with a major United States sports league or team, you will need to submit at least two of the following:

  • Significant participation in a prior United States major league season
  • Participation in international competition with a national team
  • Significant participation in a prior United States college or university season in a college competition
  • Written statement from an official of a United States sports league detailing how you or your team is internationally recognized
  • Written statement from the sports media or a recognized expert respecting international recognition
  • Evidence of you or your team's international ranking
  • Evidence you or your team has received a significant honor or award in a particular sport

When applying for the P Visa, our office can assist you with compiling the proper evidence and supporting documents to submit with your application.  Additionally, our office can assist with helping you find an employer or agent willing to serve as a P Visa sponsor. 



Professional Athletes

In order to come to the United States on the P Visa, you must be coming to gain employment as an athlete by a professional sports association with six or more teams with a combined revenue that exceeds $10 millions annually.  The association must have governance and regulations over exhibitions.   You may utilize the P Visa to join a minor league that is affiliated with the larger association previously described.

You will need to submit evidence that you are working for a United States team that is part of a professional association with six or more teams.  This can be evidenced by the following:

  • A list of teams provided by the association or league
  • Contracts or agreements documenting the team is part of a larger association or league
  • Letters from the association or league confirming the team's membership
  • Journal articles or reviews from media outlets evidencing the team is part of a qualified association or league
  • Promotional or marketing material from the league or association identifying its teams

Establishes that the association or league has a combined revenue that exceeds $10 million annually.  This can be established by

  • Tax documents
  • Audited financial documents
  • Articles or reports presented by media outlets with reference to generated revenues

Establishes that the association governs the conduct of the players and regulates exhibition, this will include:

  • League or association rules and bylaws
  • Articles by media outlets that discuss actions taken by the association or league
  • Statements from association or league officials who have the knowledge and authority to comment on regulation



Amateur Athletes or Coaches

In order to come to the United States on the P Visa, you must be coming to the United States as part of a team or franchise and be a member of a foreign league or association.  If you have membership in a particular league or association, it must consist of the following:

  • Having 15 or more sports teams
  • Membership in a league makes players ineligible under NCAA rules to earn university scholarships or participate in university sport within the United States
  • The league must be at the highest level of amateur performance in that sport within that country
  • Significant number of players within the league are drafted by major sports leagues or minor league affiliates

When submitting this petition, sufficient evidence for the P-1 Visa petition will include:

  • Reviews, articles, and reports from established media outlets displaying the level of performance of the association or league; or
  • Contracts, copies of rules and by-laws and other evidence showing the level or performance of the team members

What about family?

If the athlete has a P Visa, his or her parent can seek an P-1S visa if the parent has the ability to evidence that he or she is essential to the athlete's performance (i.e., trainer or wellness coach).  Additionally, a parent may qualify for a temporary visa such as an H-1B work visa or if the parent has the ability to invest in a business, an E-2 Treaty Investor visa.  If the parent wants to pursue education within the United States, they can seek an F-1 Student Visa that would require at least 12 credit hours per week.  Spouses and unmarried children under age 21 are able to obtain a P-4 Visa.  The P-4 does not authorize them to work in the United States but it does enable them to attend school or college.

What if I wanted to stay in the United States permanently?

The P-1 Visa could be a way for you to apply for Adjustment of Status.  Doing so will allow you to seek permanent residency while within the United States. 

How do I contact your office?

To discuss the P-1 Visa process and application in more detail, contact our office to speak with a sports visa attorney today, (888) 588-5717.  You can also submit your information below and we will contact you immediately.


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