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The P-1 Internationally Recognized Athlete 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.

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

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 filing a Form I-129, see the “Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker” link to the right.

Supporting Documents

The Form I-129 must include the following documents:

  • A written consultation 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
  • An explanation of the event and itinerary
  • Documentation of at least two of the following:
    • Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season with a major United States sports league
    • Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in international competition with a national team
    • Evidence of having participated to a significant extent in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition
    • A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport which details how you or your team is internationally recognized
    • A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how you or your team is internationally recognized
    • Evidence that you or your team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings
    • Evidence that you or your team has received a significant honor or award in the sport

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