P Visas for Entertainers
In most circumstances, individuals cannot obtain a P-1 visa—they must be part of an entertainment group. The group must be internationally recognized as outstanding in the area and have a sustained period of achievement. USCIS may waive this requirement, however, for entertainment groups that are “recognized nationally” as being outstanding in their discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.”
Additionally, the individual members must have been members of the group for at least 1 year. This requirement may be waived in certain circumstances (e.g., circus personnel if the group has an international reputation). The group must have been together for at least one year, and at least three-fourths of the members must have been in the group for at least a year.
When the application is filed on behalf of an entertainment group, the petition must include details about each person’s length of membership in the group. The petition must also demonstrate the group’s sustained international recognition.
This may be done in two ways. First, by nomination or receipt of awards for outstanding achievement in the field. Second, by submitting three of the following types of evidence:
- Performances in starring roles in productions or events with a distinguished reputation, evidenced by reviews, advertisements, press releases, contracts, or endorsements
- International recognition, evidenced by reviews in papers, trade journals, etc.
- Commercial success
- Significant recognition for achievements from leaders in the field
- High salary compared to others similarly situated
The P-3 visa classification is for “culturally unique artists and entertainers, individually or in a group, coming to the United States to develop, interpret, represent, coach, or teach their particular art or discipline.” Culturally unique has been defined as a style or artistic expression, methodology, or medium which is unique to a particular country, nation, society, class ethnicity, religion, tribe, or other group of persons.
In order to obtain a P-3 visa, an applicant must provide the following:
- Affidavits or letters from experts regarding the authentic cultural uniqueness of the performance
- Other documentation that the performance is culturally unique, such as material published in newspapers and trade journals
- Evidence that each performance will be culturally unique