The P visa, also known as the performer visa, is intended for performing groups including culturally unique performance groups, athletes, teachers, and coaches. This is another way in which a person can enter the United States legally. There are three different types of P visas. Admission to the United States with this type of visa is limited to specific performances, competitions, and or events. With this type of visa, the athlete or performer can also receive expedited responses in the event that a performance or competition is quickly approaching.
What is unique about this type of visa, is that it also allows personnel support to apply for the same visa as the performer or athlete they are supporting. For the personnel support to qualify too, they have to be an integral part of the performance, event, or competition. The designated personnel will have to apply separately from the athlete, coach, teacher, or performer.
The P-1 Visa is intended for internationally acclaimed entertainers or athletes. The person applying for the visa must also be part of a group, not an individual. For example, Olympic teams or a movie production company filming in the United States. A movie star could not apply unless there were part of a group, for example, hired to be part of a movie. If you are a performer entering with the P-1, you can perform or compete for money, have a support staff, and your family can apply for a P-4 Visa. There are no travel restrictions and you can stay in the U.S. for up to five years.
The P-2 Visa is specifically reserved for artists and/or entertainers. Unlike the P-1, this visa allows the person applying to be independent, or, not performing with a group. It is different from the P-1 because there has to be a temporary exchange with another performer (reciprocal exchange program). For example, Canada and United States can temporarily exchange artists. You can only stay in the United States for up to one year. There are no travel restrictions with this visa, and you can enter and the leave the U.S. with proper documentation.
The P-3 Visa is reserved for culturally unique entertainers or artists who are teaching or representing their culture or cultural performances. The performance has to be unique to their country or culture specifically to apply for this type of visa. To qualify for this, you can only work for the employer sponsoring you. If you change employers, you must apply again for the visa. If you have the P-3, you can only stay in the United States for the length of your contract, and it cannot be longer than one year.
As with all visas, there are specific limitations and requirements for obtaining legal entry into the United States. It is in your best interest to hire a Houston immigration attorney to consult with you about the visa, and to fill out the paperwork properly. Any kind of mistake or misunderstanding on your part could jeopardize your application for the P Visa.