USA and the UK
- What is the P1B visa?
- What are the requirements for the P1B Visa?
- P1B Application Process
- Supporting Evidence
- Documents Needed for the P1B Visa
- Essential Support Personnel
- What is the cost of a P1-B visa?
- What is the processing time for the P1-B visa?
- How long is the P1-B visa valid?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the P1B visa?
The P-1B visa allows members of an entertainment group to enter the United States temporarily to perform. The visa is valid for a minimum of one year and is available to those groups who have been internationally recognized as outstanding in their respective discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. This means that an entertainment group has been critically reviewed, awarded, or given other significant international recognition for their work.
The P-1B visa is specifically for members of an entertainment group, not individual entertainers. Individual entertainers may apply for the O-1 Visa (Individuals with Extraordinary Ability).
What are the requirements for the P1B Visa?
Entertainment groups who would like to apply for a P1-A visa will need to meet a certain set of eligibility criteria to obtain a visa which is as follows:
- At least 75 percent of the group members must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year
- The entertainment group must have achieved international recognition
In order to be classified as achieving international recognition, a group must have a high level of achievement in their field. This is evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. As a result, their achievement has been found to be renowned, leading, or well-known in more than one country. Furthermore, the reputation of the group is essential: not the individual achievements of its members or the acclaim of a particular production.
Circus performers and their essential support personnel are exempt from both the 1-year requirement and international recognition requirement as long as they are coming to the United States to join a nationally recognized circus.
In addition, certain entertainment groups may have the international recognition requirement waived if they can establish that they are nationally known as outstanding in their field for a sustained period of time.
P1B Application Process
To acquire a P1-B visa, entertainment groups must be sponsored by either a U.S. employer or agent, a U.S. sponsoring organization, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent to come to the United States to perform. The P1-B application will first start with a sponsor a group petition and then proceed as follows:
- Sponsor petitions the entertainment group by filing Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- The sponsor pays the application fee
- Sponsor submits supporting documentation for the P1- B visa application
- If the petition is approved, the process will then transfer to the National Visa Center who will ask the entertainment group to complete and submit Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa)
- The group pays the P1-B application fee
- Group schedules and attend a visa interview at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- After the interview, the group will receive a decision on their visa application
Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa) can be completed online. This form asks questions regarding the applicant’s personal information, background, and reasons for entering the United States. After the form is completed, the applicant will be shown a confirmation page along with a confirmation number. It is important that this page be printed out and saved as it will be needed later in the application process.
In order to demonstrate that an entertainment group is internationally recognized for a sustained and substantial period of time as being outstanding in their field, they must submit evidence such as proof of significant international awards won or that they were nominated for in the past. In lieu of award recognition, entertainment groups can also submit at least three of the following in order to qualify for a P-1B visa:
- The group has performed and will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in production or events that has earned high critical praise from reviews, advertisements or endorsements, or any other reputable publication
- The group has received international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in its field as evidenced by reviews in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other published material
- The group has performed and will perform services as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation (as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials)
- The group has achieved major commercial or critically acclaimed successes (This is evidenced by success in ratings, box office receipts, record or video sales, and other achievements which are reported in major publications)
- The group has received significant recognition for its work from critics, organizations, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field
- The group has commanded and will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for their entertainment (This can be evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence)
Documents Needed for the P1B Visa
Anyone looking to apply for a P-1B visa will need to submit additional supporting documentation along with their Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker). This should include the following documents:
- Written consultation from an appropriate labor organization detailing the nature of the group’s work or a statement that establishes that the group has been performing regularly for at least 1 year (if a labor organization exists)
- Itinerary with the dates and locations of the performances
- A copy of the contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or a summary of terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed
- Evidence that your group has been established and performing regularly for at least one year
- Statement from the petitioner listing each member of the group and the exact dates for which each member has been employed on a regular basis by the group
Essential Support Personnel
Essential support personnel whose presence plays an integral part of an entertainment group’s performance of the athlete and whose duties can not be performed by local American workers may be eligible to join the group in the United States under the P-1S classification.
For support staff to obtain P1 visa status, the petitioner must file a separate Form I-129 for the essential personnel. In addition to the I-129 petition, the sponsor will also need to include the following:
- A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization (if applicable)
- A written statement describing the essential support person’s prior and current essential duties, critical skills, and experience with the entertainers
- A copy of the contract between the employer and the essential support personnel
Examples of essential support staff may include front office personnel, camera operators, lighting technicians, and stage personnel, or other roles that can prove themselves to be invaluable to the entertainment group.
What is the cost of a P1B visa?
Those individuals who would like to apply for a P1-B visa will incur the following fees:
- Form I-129 filing fee: $460 (Usually, the sponsor is responsible for payment)
- DS-160 Application form fee: $190
- Visa Issuance fee: costs will vary depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the visa was issued
- Premium processing time fee (if needed): $2,500
If a group would like to sponsor essential support personnel for P-1S visas, additional costs will incur.
What is the processing time for the P1-B visa?
From start to finish, the processing time for a P1-B visa should take anywhere from 6 weeks- 15 weeks. This will usually depend on a variety of factors such as how quickly USCIS processes Form I-129 (which is 2-8 weeks, depending on if there is a backlog).
After the P1-B petition is approved, entertainers can then submit the DS-160 Form and attend their visa interview soon after. Overall, the P1-B processing time in total may take between 6 weeks-15 weeks.
Entertainment groups who would like a quicker can apply for premium processing by filing Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) and paying the $2,500 fee. Visa applicants who choose to have their application premium processed will receive a decision on the visa within 15 working days.
How long is the P1-B visa valid?
The P1-B visa is valid for as long as it takes for the entertainment group to complete the event, competition, or performance. This initial length of stay is not to exceed 1 year.
Visas can be extended in increments of up to 1-year in order to complete whatever activities they have planned in the United States.
Last modified on December 2nd, 2021 at 7:58 am
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Immediate family members of a P1-B visa holder may be eligible to join the entertainer in the United States by applying for a P-4 visa. The P-4 visa allows for spouses and dependent children (unmarried children under 21 years old) to enter the United States under nonimmigrant status.
While in the United States, P-4 visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States but are eligible to attend school or college.
One of the requirements for the P1-B visa is that at least 75% of the members in an entertainment group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year. This means that the collaboration between the members is genuine and long-standing (at least one year) and wasn’t haphazardly put together.
Entertainment groups can have newer members in their group as long as the majority of the members have been performing for or involved in the group in a substantial way.
Although both visas are in the same P1 visa category and share a lot of similarities with one another, the P1-A visa is typically reserved for outstanding athletes (individual or group) who are internationally recognized and would like to enter the United States temporarily to participate in an athletic event.
P1-B visas however are primarily meant for entertainment groups who are recognized internationally and would like to enter the United States temporarily in order to perform for American audiences.