This visa is appropriate for Athletes and Performers.


Individual athletes and athletic teams may qualify for the P-1 visa if they have international recognition.

International recognition is generally considered to be a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country.

To establish international recognition two of the following must be submitted:

  1. Participation in a prior season with a major U.S. sports league;
  2. Participation in international competition with a national team;
  3. Participation in a prior season for a U.S. college in intercollegiate competition;
  4. A statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport detailing how that alien or the team is internationally recognized;
  5. A statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or the team is internationally recognized;
  6. International rankings of the individual or team;
  7. Significant honors or awards in the sport received by the individual or team.

Note that a signed contract with a professional sport team may establish eligibility.


The P-1 category is also available for any type of internationally recognized entertainment groups. Individual entertainers are not eligible for P-1 status unless they are coming to join a U.S. entertainment group. This category is available to virtually any type of entertainment group, including dancers, musicians, circus performers and others.

In most cases, the group must have been internationally recognized as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. Also, seventy-five percent of the group’s members must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least one year and must provide functions integral to the group’s performance.

International recognition can be established if the group received or was nominated for significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in its field, or any three of the following:

  1. Performed or will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in production or events which have a distinguished reputation;
  2. Achieved international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievements through reviews in newspapers or magazines;
  3. Performed as a leading or starring group for organizations with distinguished reputation;
  4. Achieved major commercial or critically acclaimed successes;
  5. Achieved significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field;
  6. Has the ability to command a substantial remuneration for performances.


If a group cannot qualify for the P-1 visa because it cannot establish international recognition, there are two alternatives available: P-2 and P-3 visas. These alternatives are also available to individuals, as the P-1 visa is only available for groups. However, there are additional requirements.

The P-2 category is an alternative for artists and entertainers who perform either individually or as part of a group and do not necessarily enjoy any level of recognition. However, it is available only to those individuals or groups that are performing pursuant to a cultural exchange program.

The P-3 category is also a viable alternative for groups and individuals that do not have a certain caliber or level of recognition. The only requirement is that their art or entertainment be unique in style or technique to one particular culture, such as, for example, a gamelan orchestra from Indonesia or flamenco dancers from Spain.