ATHLETES   (O and P VISAS)
The O and P visas cover those athletes who may be admitted to the U.S. to train or compete.  The only other category that athletes may be admitted is the H-2B category, requiring a labor certification, a category that specifically excludes those athletes who fall into the O or P category.  The O visa is designed for those athletes of extraordinary ability and their family members. On the other hand, the P visa is set aside for those athletes who do not fall into the extraordinary category O-1 Athlete
P-1 Athlete
O-2 Support Personnel
O-3 Dependents
P-1S Support Personnel

 

O-1 ATHLETE of EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY
The O category is reserved for athletes of extraordinary ability,
the athleteís support staff (O-2), and the O-1ís spouse and/or child(ren) (O-3). To qualify, the alien must be coming to the U.S.to work in his or her area of extraordinary ability or achievement. There is currently no annual cap on O visas.

Petition Document Requirements:  A U.S. employer should file the petition (Form I-129) with:

  • A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the alien's area of ability;
  • A copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed;
  • Evidence that the alien has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as an Olympic Gold Medal, or evidence of at least three of the following:
      • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
      • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized international experts;
      • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the alien and his work in the field for which classification is sought;
      • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
      • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought;
      • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
      • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought;
      • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.

If the above standards do not readily apply to the alien's occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the alien's eligibility.          Back to Top

O-2 Support Personnel
The O-2 category applies to aliens accompanying an O-1 athlete to assist in a specific event or performance. This person would be acting as an essential and integral part of the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 athlete because he or she performs support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.

The petition must be filed by a U.S. employer in conjunction with the filing of the O-1 alien petition and must be filed with:

  • A written advisory opinion.
      • If the O-2 petition is for an alien accompanying an O-1 alien of extraordinary ability in the arts, the opinion must be from a labor organization with expertise in the skill area involved.
      • If the O-2 petition is for an alien accompanying an O-1 alien of extraordinary achievement in the field of motion picture or television, the opinion must be from a labor organization and a management organization with expertise in the skill area involved.
  • Evidence of the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 alien with the O-1 alien, and that the alien has substantial experience utilizing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1. In the case of a specific motion picture or television production, the evidence shall establish that significant production has taken place outside the U.S., and will take place inside the U.S. and that the continuing participation of the alien is essential to the successful completion of the production.
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O-3 Dependents
Spouses and minor children (dependents) of O-1ís are admitted under O-3 status with the same restrictions as the principal. They may not work in the U.S. under this classification.   Supporting documentation to prove the relationship must be submitted with the petition.     Back to Top

 P-1 ATHLETE        

The P-1 classification applies to an alien coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.

Petition Document Requirements --- A U.S. employer should file the I-129 petition with:

  • A written advisory opinion 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;
  • Copies of evidence of at least two of the following:
      • Significant participation in a prior season with a major United States sports league;
      • Participation in international competition with a national team;
      • Significant participation in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
      • A written statement from an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
      • A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
      • The individual or team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings; or
      • The alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.   Back to Top

P-1 Accompanying Support Personnel  This category applies to accompanying support personnel who are highly skilled aliens coming temporarily as an essential and integral part of the competition or performance of a P-1 Athlete.  Essential support personnel must perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance or services of the athlete or entertainer.

The petition must be filed in conjunction with the petition for a P-2 alien by a U.S. employer and must be filed with:

  • A written consultation with a labor organization in the skill in which the alien will be involved;
  • A statement describing the alien's prior and current essentiality, critical skills and experience with the principal alien;
  • A copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed.    Back to Top