The P-1a Visa classification applies to you if you are 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.
The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:
Individual Athletes Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.
Athletic Teams Eligibility Criteria
You must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.
Application Process for P-1A Visa
To come to the United States your U.S. employer must file a Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker, accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation. Please note a petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent. The required conditions can be found at the link to the right (see the memorandum “Requirements for Agents and Sponsors Filing as Petitioners for the O and P Visa Classifications.
The U.S. employer must submit a consultation from an appropriate labor organization. The consultation must describe the work or services to be performed in the United States and your qualifications for such work. If no appropriate labor organization exists, this requirement is excused.
For more information about the P-1A visa, or filing Form I-129, see the “Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker” link to the right.