Let a P1 Visa Attorney in San Jose Help You Today
As a professional athlete, travel is part of the job description. When traveling to the United States from another country, the matter of proper documentation is crucial in order to avoid issues entering and staying in the country for the duration of the competition. The P1a visa classification is for professional athletes to come to the U.S. temporarily to perform or compete at a specific athletic competition, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. With the help of a P1 visa lawyer in San Jose, make sure you are ready for your next competition in the United States without worry or hassle.
How Do I Apply for a P1 Visa?
Applying for any type of visa requires supporting documents that are submitted as part of an application. The petition for a P1a visa is filed by a U.S. employer on Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker, accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation. Supporting documents include the following:
- A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization
- A copy of the contract with a major U.S. sports league or team or a contract in an individual sport commensurate with international recognition in the sport, if such contracts are normally utilized in the sport
- An explanation of the event and itinerary
The person filing must also include at least two of the following documentation options:
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season with a major United States sports league
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in international competition with a national team
- Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
- A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport which details how you or your team is internationally recognized
- A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how you or your team is internationally recognized
- Evidence that you or your team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings
- Evidence that you or your team has received a significant honor or award in the sport
What are the Benefits of a P1 Visa?
A P1a visa offers a few unique benefits to make staying in the United States easier to manage. While it is a temporary visa, visa holders are entitled to benefits that are similar to those of a United States citizen. The P1 visa offers the following benefits:
- Live in the United States. A person with a P1a visa will be allowed to live in the U.S. while the visa is valid, which helps with securing a residence or place to live.
- Cover Family Members. If the person with the P1 visa has immediate family, they would like to bring to the U.S. during their time as a professionally competing athlete. A P4 visa may be issued for a spouse and children under the age of 21 claimed as dependents by P1 visa holders.
- Public Education for Children. The dependents of the P1a visa holder are entitled to public education without the need for a student visa. The education is typically from K-university for the dependent child.
- Secure Social Security Number and Driver’s License. A social security number is used for most major matters in the United States, such as employment, renting a residence, securing credit, and keeping medical records. Many institutions require a government-issued identification card with a photograph, which is one of many reasons a driver’s license is crucial in America.
- Work in the United States. The P1a visa allows the holder to earn income in the U.S. during their stay. This includes promotional events where the athlete is paid to appear.
Does the P1 Visa Require an Employer?
If you are an independent athlete and not associated with a recognized sports team, you may still be eligible for a P1 visa. In order to be eligible as an independent athlete, the person would need a U.S. petitioner. A U.S. petitioner may be a coach, trainer, agent, or other sponsor associated with the independent athlete. This person would petition on behalf of the athlete that they need to be in the United States for competition, training, or other career-related reasons, which would allow for the athlete to be eligible for a P1 visa. Whether you are the petitioner or the independent athlete, it is a good idea to speak with a P1 visa attorney prior to submitting the application. The immigration attorney will be able to answer questions regarding eligibility and procedures related to this type of application.
How Long is a P1 Visa Valid?
It is important to keep in mind that every visa type may be different. Visas fall under several categories with varying lengths of approved stays in the United States. The P1 visa is a temporary, employment-based visa category. It may be issued for up to five years for each visit. The P1a visa is renewable in five-year increments, provided proper requirements are met, and documentation is provided. The total maximum limit in the United States is ten years for this type of visa. The same length of stay is typically permitted for the spouse and children of a P1 visa holder. There may be different visa lengths based on whether the person is an individual athlete or an athlete on a recognized athletic team. Since there may be differences in the length of stay depending on the individual and circumstances, it is always a good idea to consult a P1 visa lawyer for assistance on the matter.
Can I Get a P1 Visa if I am not an Athlete?
Even if you are not an athlete, the P1 visa may apply to you under certain circumstances. The P1 visa can be applied for by individuals such as coaches, trainers, and other support staff. You will still need to provide the proper documentation as an athlete and follow all of the application requirements. If approved for a P1 visa, you will be granted the same benefits as an athlete under the same visa. The only difference is that the length of the visa for support or administrative professionals may be issued for a year, with the option to reapply once the year is over. If you are unsure if your role within the team or organization is eligible, contacting a P1 visa lawyer may help remove the confusion. A P1 visa attorney will be able to tell what, if any, visa type you qualify for in relation to your role. The attorney will also help you start the process of applying for whatever visa is best suited to your circumstances.
What is the Difference Between P1 and O1 Visas?
While a P1 visa may be obtained by eligible professional athletes at any level, the O1 visa is for athletes and coaches of extraordinary ability with international recognition. The O1 visa is for athletes and coaches with a well-established career that is either nationally or internationally acclaimed. This type of visa is for those who excel in their sport with a proven track record of professional excellence, such as winning World Championships, Olympic medals, or similarly esteemed recognition. There are several supporting documents an athlete or coach must submit in order to apply for an O1 visa in order to verify their eligibility and receive approval. Aside from a P1 visa being for beginning and mid-level professionals and an O1 visa being for top performers, another difference is that the O1 visa does not apply to support staff. Support staff, trainers, and others deemed administrative are only eligible for a P1 visa. If you are unsure if a P1 visa or an O1 visa is right for you, consulting a visa attorney may be useful prior to applying.
Can I Turn a P1 Visa into a Green Card?
While it is possible to turn a P1 visa into a green card, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, the option to turn a P1 visa into a green card is not available to support employees. The green card may also not be an option for family members of the P1 visa holder in certain scenarios. However, if a P1 visa holder’s family member already has a green card, this can be used to leverage a green card, or the athlete with a P1 visa may be able to obtain a green card based on their athletic responsibilities in the United States. If the athlete has extraordinary abilities, they may be able to apply for a green card through the EB1 category, while an athlete with exceptional abilities may be able to apply through their employer under the EB2 visa category. If you are unsure about the options or whether you are eligible, you should speak with a P1 visa attorney to discuss the next best step.
How Can a P1 Visa Lawyer Help?
The process of applying for any type of visa can be intimidating for most people, especially if you are trying to navigate the process during a competition or other important time in your athletic career. With the help of a visa P1 lawyer, the process may be smoother and easier to manage. It may also help speed up the issuing of the visa. While the general timeline for securing a visa depends on various factors, if you submit the wrong information or the application is missing required documents, it will inevitably slow down the approval process. An experienced visa P1 attorney will make sure you know what documents you need when to submit them and what to expect throughout the process. An attorney will also be able to answer any related questions regarding the specifics of your situation and visa application. A P1 visa lawyer will also be able to assist with extension applications and the process involved when requesting a green card following a P1 visa.
Do I Need a P1 Visa Lawyer?
While it is possible to complete the visa application process without legal counsel, it may be beneficial to consult with a visa attorney. The visa application process can be overwhelming and long, especially when errors occur on your end. Some of the documents need to be extensive in order to provide adequate support for the eligibility for a P1 visa. If you are unfamiliar with the process, the details of the information required, or the legal steps in securing a visa, hiring a visa lawyer may be the right move for you. It can be especially daunting if there is a language barrier while compiling the visa application materials. An experienced attorney will be able to help you navigate an otherwise overwhelming, confusing process in a more manageable manner. Aside from the added peace of mind in hiring an attorney, a visa lawyer may be able to help if your initial application was not approved.
Get Legal Assistance for Professional Athletes Today
When you need an experienced P1a visa lawyer in San Jose, you deserve an attorney who has successfully assisted numerous athletic clubs and teams in bringing professional athletes to compete in the United States. Please contact (408) 645-6395 to discuss your qualifications under the P1a visa category today.