By Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.
The artists and entertainment groups that were basically ruled out for so much of the COVID pandemic, are back on with the option to perform in the United States, as long as everyone is fully vaccinated.
The P-visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that is granted to individuals who wish to come to the U.S. to perform services as an internationally recognized athlete, entertainer, and/or performer. There are four different categories of P visas:
- P-1A: Internationally recognized athletes
- P-1B: A member of an internationally recognized entertainment group
- P-2: Artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, coming to the U.S. to perform under a reciprocal exchange program
- P-3: Artist or entertainer coming to the U.S. to specifically teach, perform, or coach under a culturally unique program
In order to be eligible for a P-3 non-immigrant visa an individual must be coming to the U.S. with the intention of developing, interpreting, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. The individual must also take part in a cultural event that will advance the understanding or development of their artwork. We often utilize the P3 visa for people coming for shows, concerts, plays, and performances.
A prospective P-3 employer or sponsoring organization must file a petition on behalf of an individual or individuals in a group. The petition must be accompanied by supporting documents such as –
- Written consultation from an appropriate labor organization
- A Contract
- An explanation of the events or activities and a copy of the itinerary for the events or activities
- Letters from perceived specialists attesting to the genuineness of the individual or individual’s group abilities in performing, presenting, coaching, or teaching the unique and traditional art form
- Evidence that all the performances or presentations will be culturally unique events
P-3 Visa Holder’s Essential Support Personnel:
According to USCIS “essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P-3 artist or entertainer and who perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker” are also eligible for P-3 classification. A few examples of support personnel include coaches, scouts, and trainers. The U.S. petitioner must file a separate petition for ESP in addition to the primary P3 petition.
Under a P-3 visa, an individual may stay in the U.S. for the time needed to complete the event, activity, or performance, but it may not be for more than one year. After the initial period of stay ends, an extension of stay may be granted in increments for up to one year in order to continue or complete the event, activity, or performance.
Any dependents of P-3 nonimmigrants, spouses, and children under the age of 21, may be eligible for P-4 nonimmigrant status. However, dependents are not allowed to work, but they are allowed to study, and the P-4 status is granted for no longer than the period of time granted to the principal P-3 nonimmigrant.