Basic Information about the P Visa Category

P Category Visa Process:

Coverage of P category

The P category covers those entertainers and athletes who cannot qualify under the extraordinary ability standard for the O category. The only other category in which entertainers or athletes may be admitted to the United States is the H-2B category, requiring a labor certification. The H-1B category specifically excludes from coverage those aliens fitting within the O and P categories. It is important to note that in most cases accompanying aliens are not permitted for P entertainers and athletes. It should also be noted that the P category maintains the requirement, deleted for the H-1B category, that the alien have a foreign residence that he or she has no intention of abandoning.

indexDuration of stay

Except for individual P-1 athletes, there is no explicit statutory limitation on the period of stay for P non-immigrants. The initial period of stay can be approved for the time necessary for the specific competition, event, or performance, up to a period of one year. With regard to individual P-1 athletes, an initial period of stay can be approved for five years, up to a total of 10 years. A “competition, event, or performance” means an activity such as an athletic competition, athletic season, tournament, tour, exhibit, project, entertainment event, or engagement. A group of related activities will also be considered an event.

  • An extension of stay for a P-1 individual athlete and support personnel can be granted for an additional period of five years for a total period of stay not to exceed 10 years.
  • Extensions of stay for all other P non-immigrants and support personnel can be granted in increments of up to one year to continue or complete the same event or activity for which they were admitted.
  • In addition, extensions may be granted to complete additional similar or comparable performances, engagements, or competitions not listed in the initial petition.

Procedures for the P category

Classification in the P category requires the filing of a P petition with the Immigration Service in order to obtain permission to employ a P alien for a temporary period. Before a petition can be approved for P classification, a consultation requirement must be met. The law requires the submission of an advisory opinion from a labor organization with expertise in the alien’s specific field. The petition may establish that a labor organization does not exist, in which case the USCIS may adjudicate the petition without an advisory opinion.

The P petition may be filed for multiple P aliens if they are members of a group or team seeking classification based on the reputation of the group or team as an entity, or if they will provide essential support to the same P-1, P-2 or P-3 alien or group performing in the same location and in the same time period; support personnel cannot be included in the same petition as the principal P alien or group. Separate petitions must be filed for support personnel.

Special conditions

The principal condition regarding P status that must be remembered by employers is that obtaining P status for an alien requires three steps:

  • Obtaining an advisory opinion from a labor organization (or submitting evidence that such an organization does not exist).
  • Approval by the USCIS of a P petition supported by the advisory opinion.
  • Issuance by a U.S. consulate of a P visa based on the approved petition.

Also keep in mind the following:

Freelancing not permitted:  The final rules issued in August 1994 clarify that an alien or group in P classification may only be admitted to perform services in “specific, identified” events, performances, competitions, or engagements; P status may not be granted to an alien to enter the United States to free lance in the open market.

Filings by foreign employers and U.S. agents:  A final rule issued in April 1997 revises the circumstances under which a foreign employer may file P-1 petitions. Under prior rules, a foreign employer could directly petition for an P-1 alien. The new rules state that a foreign employer may file a petition only through a United States agent. A “foreign employer” includes any employer who is not amenable to service of process in the United States.

  • Cases involving self-employment
  • Cases involving “numerous employers”
  • Cases involving foreign employers

Filing permanent residence papers:  The approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of an immigrant preference petition is not a basis for denying a P petition, an extension of stay request, or a change of status application.

Members of P-1 entertainment and athletic groups:  A person who is a member of an internationally recognized entertainment group or athletic team may be granted P-1 classification based on that relationship, but may not perform services separate and apart from the entertainment group or athletic team.

Employer obligation to pay for return abroad: One obligation imposed by the 1990 Act is for employers to pay for the return trip of P employees whose employment is terminated prior to the expiration of the authorized period of stay.

Family members of P aliens:  The family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) of the principal alien are classified in the P-4 category. They cannot engage in employment in the United States unless they are independently qualified.

If you have any questions, our office in Wani & Associates will be happy to help you. Please feel free to Contact Now: 1-866-755-9264 .

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Basic Requirements for Obtaining O-1 and O-2 Status

O-1 and O-2 Visa Processing Requirements:

The O-1 category is set aside for the principal alien with extraordinary ability. The law establishes three different standards for the O-1 category:

  • The most exacting standard applies to aliens in the sciences, education, business, and athletics.
  • A much less rigorous standard applies to individual aliens in the arts.
  • An intermediate standard applies to aliens of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or TV industries.

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(a)  Aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, and athletics

With regard to the first group of individuals who qualify for O-1 Status (aliens in the sciences, education, business, and athletics), the USCIS rules provide that only a person who is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of his or her field of endeavor qualifies for this type of extraordinary ability.

  • Receipt of a major, internationally-recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize.

(b)  Aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts

To qualify as a member of the second group of O-1 aliens (aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts), the USCIS rules require “distinction.” “Distinction” means a high level of achievement in the field of arts as evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person is described as prominent, leading, or well known in the field of arts.

  • Evidence that the alien has been nominated for or has been the recipient of significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular Held, such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director’s Guild Award.

(c)  Aliens of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or TV industries

To qualify as a person of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industries, it must be shown that the alien has a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture or television field. This standard is more exacting than the standard applicable to aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts but less rigorous than the standard applicable to aliens in the sciences, education, business, and athletics.

(d)  Work in the area of extraordinary ability or achievement

The O-1 alien must be coming to the United States to work in his or her area of extraordinary ability or achievement. Under prior rules, the Service had taken the position that the performance, event, or position must require the services of an alien of extraordinary ability or achievement.

Basic requirements for obtaining 0-2 status

The O-2 category is set aside for aliens who will accompany and assist in the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 alien and aliens who will accompany and assist an O-1 alien on a specific motion picture or television production. O-2 aliens must have a foreign residence which they have no intention of abandoning; this requirement, which was eliminated for the H-1B category, is not imposed for O-1 aliens.

With regard to the O-2 category for aliens accompanying and assisting an O-1 alien on a specific motion picture or television production, the 1991 Amendments clarify that the alien must have skills and experience with the O-1 alien which are not of a general nature and which are critical:

  • Based on a pre-existing longstanding working relationship.
  • Because significant production will take place both inside and outside of the United States and the continuing participation of the alien is essential to the successful completion of the production.

If you have any question about O-1 and O-2 status, Please contact Wani & Associates for a free consultation. Wani & Associates, P.C is known for its accessibility to its clients. Call today at: 1-866-755-9264

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Basic Information About the O Visa Category

O Category Non Immigrant Visa Process:

O VisaCoverage of the O category

The O category is set aside for aliens of “extraordinary” ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, certain aliens accompanying or assisting those aliens, and their family members. In addition, O non-immigrant’s must intend to work in their area of extraordinary ability or achievement. No numerical cap is placed on the annual admission of these non-immigrant’s, but the definitions covering this category should serve effectively to limit the number of annual admissions.

Duration of stay

There is no explicit statutory limitation on the period of stay for O non-immigrant’s; the initial period of stay can be approved for the time necessary to complete the event or activity or group of events or activities for which the non-immigrant is admitted, up to a period of three years. The USCIS rules define the term “event” to mean an activity such as a scientific project, conference, convention, lecture series, tour, exhibit, business project, academic year, or engagement; in the case of an O-1 athlete, the event could be the entire season or the alien’s contract, if longer than the season.

Procedures for the O category

Classification in the O category requires the filing of an O petition with the Immigration Service in order to obtain permission to employ an O alien for a temporary period. A petition can be approved only after the employer consults with a peer group, labor organization, or management organization regarding the nature of the work to be done and the alien’s qualifications. In most cases, evidence of consultation takes the form of a written advisory opinion obtained from a peer group, labor organization or management organization with expertise in the specific field involved.

An O petition may be filed for multiple O-2 aliens (but not O-1 aliens) when they are assisting the same O-1 alien for the same events or performances, during the same period of time and in the same location; under a revision to the rules in August 1994, multiple beneficiaries listed in the same O-2 petition need not seek their O-2 visas at the same U.S. consulate abroad.

Special conditions

The principal condition regarding O status that must be remembered by employers is that obtaining O status for an alien requires three steps:

  • Obtaining advisory opinion from peer group, labor organization, or management organization.
  • Approval by the USCIS of an O petition supported by the advisory opinion.
  • Issuance by a U.S. consulate of an O visa based on the approved petition.

Also keep in mind the following:

Freelancing not permitted: The final rules issued in August 1994 clarify that an alien in O classification may only be admitted to perform services in “specific, identified” events; O status may not be granted to an alien to enter the United States to free lance in the open market.

Filings by foreign employers and U.S. agents:  Final rules issued in April 1997 revise the circumstances under which a foreign employer may file O-1 petitions. Under prior rules, a foreign employer could directly petition for an O-1 alien. Note the following with regard to each of these circumstances:

  • Cases involving self-employment
  • Cases involving “numerous employers”
  • Cases involving foreign employers

Filing permanent residence papers: The approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of an immigrant preference petition is not a basis for denying an O-1 petition, an extension of stay request, or a change of status application. The USCIS rules provide that an alien may legitimately come to the United States for a temporary period as an O-1 nonimmigrant, and, at the same time lawfully seek to become a permanent resident.

Employer obligation to pay for return abroad: Employers are obligated to pay for the return trip of O employees whose employment is terminated prior to the expiration of the authorized period of stay.

Family members of O aliens: The family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) of the principal alien are classified in the O-3 category. They cannot engage in employment in the United States unless they are independently qualified.

An O-1 Visa is originally provided for up to three decades. Consequently, it can be prolonged for one season at one time. There is no restrict to the variety of additions that may be provided. If you have any question about O Visa Category, Please contact Wani & Associates for a free consultation. Wani & Associates, P.C is known for its accessibility to its clients. Call today at: 1-866-755-9264

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