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If you're an internationally recognized athlete, entertainer, artist or performer, you may qualify for a P visa, allowing you to live and work temporarily in the United States. Before you sign up, however, you should understand the purpose and qualifications for each type of P visa. Also, be aware that some artists and entertainers qualify for other types of visas instead.

The U.S. welcomes artists, performers, entertainers and athletes who are internationally renowned, coming to share culturally unique arts and entertainment, or for reciprocal cultural exchange.

You must be sponsored by a U.S. employer, who files a Form 1-29 (petition for non-immigrant worker) and associated materials. Once the petition has been approved, you can apply for the visa itself at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Here are the types of nonimmigrant work visas  available for these artists and athletes:

P-1A: Visas for internationally recognized athletes

Both individual athletes and teams can come to the U.S. to perform in specific athletic competitions at an internationally recognized level. This requires a high level of achievement -- leading, renowned or well known in more than one country.

P-1B: Visas for members of internationally recognized entertainment groups

Members of entertainment groups can come to the U.S. to perform under this type of visa, as long as the group itself has been internationally recognized as outstanding in their fields of discipline for a sustained period of time. At least 75 percent of the group members must have been in the group for at least a year, unless the group is a circus.

P-2: Visas for performers who are part of a reciprocal exchange program

This visa type is for individuals and groups who are coming to the U.S. as part of a government-recognized reciprocal exchange program between a U.S. organization and one in their home country. Their skills must be comparable to the U.S. artists or entertainers who will take part in the program.

P-3: Visas for artists and entertainers coming to perform, teach or coach in a program that is culturally unique

If you are part of an arts or entertainment program that is culturally unique, a P-3 visa allows you to perform, coach, teach, develop, interpret or represent a unique or traditional cultural, folk, musical, artistic or theatrical presentation or performance. You must be coming to participate in cultural events intended to further the development or understanding of your art form. You can be an individual or part of a group, and your program may be either commercial or non-commercial.

Each of these visas has different required supporting documentation. For more information or to find out if you qualify for a P visa, contact the Yew Immigration Law Group, P.C.

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