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DownloadLearn more about how the immigration process works and help you with your immigration concerns and questions. The Charleston USA Immigration Law Center is here to support you in your goal to become a United States citizen.

P-1A Visa

Internationally Recognized Athletes

Americans love their professional athletes, movie stars, & rock stars. They are our royalty of sorts! Our athletic championships often proclaim "world champion". Our teams pay the most and the competition is amongst the very best. It is no wonder foreign athletes want to play on or against our teams and/or test our level of competition.

Eligible Athletes

Must be coming to the U.S., on a temporary non-immigrant basis, to play in an athletic event, competition or performance, either individually or as part of a team, at an internationally recognized level of play. The athlete must have ability, skill, reputation and recognition recognized to be at the highest level in more than one country. The kind of athlete we all dreamed of becoming!

U.S. Employer

Generally, the employer is a professional team or league or sports agent working for employers. Application is made on USCIS Form I-129, with all accompanying documentation and paying all required filing fees. And, if appropriate the employer must also submit a written Consultation from an appropriate labor organization. Employers can be changed with the submission of new filings if the athlete is traded.

Submission Process

Additionally, the application process must:

  • Provide a signed copy of a written sports contract,
  • Explanation of the events or teams/leagues schedule,
  • Expansive documentation that the employer, team & athlete have a history of the highest level of competition.

Approval usually takes between 2 and 10 weeks, and then a Notice of Approval is sent to the employer and the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate for processing.

Essential Support Personnel & Family Members

Coaches, trainers, scouts, officials, referees, physical therapists and the like can also attend on separately filed USCIS Form I-129 with similar documentation and upon paying all required filing fees.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can also obtain entry under P-4 Visas. Naturally, they cannot work but can attend school or college.

Period of Stay for P-1A Visa Holders

Individual athletes can stay up to 5 years with extensions to a maximum of 10 years. Teams can stay up to 1 year with extensions up to 1 year. Support personnel can stay up to 1 year with extensions up to 10 years.

P-1A Visa Application

Visa application is conducted at the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate with consular processing.

We have processed these types of applications and can help you to properly process yours. Contact us for more information and retaining our services. Like our office motto says, "with immigration, nothing is as simple as it first appears"â„ .

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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