P-1 and P-1A

Visa for athletes, entertainers, and coaches.

Are you an athlete looking to compete in the United States, or a coach, trainer, nutritionist or support personnel looking to accompany your athlete? 

Discover the P-1 visa, catering to internationally recognized athletes and entertainers who wish to showcase their talents in the United States.

Key Requirements:

Client Profile:

At CARNEY Immigration, our P-1 visa attorneys will help you find how to turn your talent into a top-notch immigration petition. 


The P-1 Visa is a specialty non-immigrant visa exclusively for athletes. Coaches or support staff may accompany the athlete through a P-1S. 


 A P-1 allows foreign athletes to come to the United States temporarily in order to attend an event, competition, or performance. The visa can be issued for up to five years with extensions not to exceed a total stay of ten years. 


The P-1 visa contains two subcategories:

·      P-1A visa intended for internationally recognized athletes or an athletic team;

·      P-1B visa intended for individuals or members of an internationally recognized entertainment group.


In order for groups to be eligible for P-1, the team or group must have at least two members. 


USCIS may also require proof that the P-1 applicant maintains a foreign residence abroad showing they intend to return to the home country upon completion of the event, performance, tournament, or tour. 


(U) The P-1 visa classification applies to the following:


(1)   The COMPETE Act of 2006 outlined four different ways that an applicant may qualify:

(a)   The athlete or team performs at an “internationally recognized” level of performance;

(b)  A professional athlete as definted by 9 FAM 402.14-4 paragraph 11;

(c)   An athlete or coach, as part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association of 15 or more amateur sports teams, if the foreign league or association is the highest level of amateur performance of that sport in the relevant foreign country; participation in such league or association renders players ineligible, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, to earn a scholarship in or participate in, that sport at a college or university in the United States under NCAA rules; and a significant number of individuals who play in such league or association are drafted by major sports leagues or a minor league affiliate of such a sports league; and 

(d)  A professional or amateur athlete coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform in a specific theatrical ice-skating production, individually or as part of a group.



Can I compete for prize money as an athlete on a P-1 Visa?


P-1 holders may compete for prize money. 


Can I travel abroad while on a P-1 Visa?


Yes, P-1 visa holders may travel freely inside and outside the United States so long as the visa remains valid. 


Can my spouse and/or children accompany me? 


Spouse and children (unmarried and under age 21) may accompany or visit the primary visa holder through a P-4 dependent visa. However, they may not work. 


Can I obtain permanent residency (green card) through the P-1 Visa?


P-1 Visa holders may apply to adjust status and seek permanent residency (green card) in the United States. 


Can I have more than one employer or sponsor? 


Yes, the P-1 Visa holder may have more than one employer, sponsor, or other revenue sources, provided the P-1 petition is presented by your agent. Employers may be U.S. based or foreign, but must have a contract with the visa beneficiary. 


Who counts as essential support staff for the P-1S visa?


Common support personnel applicants include coaches, assistant coaches, managers, trainers, scouts, translators, nutritionists, tour managers, or caddies. 


How long can my coach or support staff stay in the United States on the P-1S visa?


Consistent with DHS regulations, P-1S essential support personnel such as your coach or trainer may stay for the time necessary to complete the event, but not more than one year. Applicants will usually receive either one year or the time left on the principal athlete’s P-1 visa if less than one year. 


Who can sponsor the P-1S or O-2 visa holder?


The direct employer of the P-1 or O-1 visa holder, a sponsoring organization, a U.S. agent representing multiple employers, or a U.S. agent representing a foreign employer. 


Does the same petitioner of the P-1 visa holder apply for coach and/or support staff?


No, not always. The P-1S and O-2 visa petitioner does not always have to be the same entity as the sponsor of the principal visa holder. If the foreign athlete is signed to the NBA, NHL, or MLS, for example, a different agency can be the petitioner for the coach or support staff. 


One P-1 visa can lead to the issuance of multiple P-1S visas, including but not limited to for foreign coaches, training partners, kinesiologists, psychologists, analysts, managers, agents, nutritionists, etc.