P-1B Visa for Entertainers

P-1B Visa for Entertainers

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What is a P-1B visa?

A P-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to members of an internationally recognized entertainment group. 

The P-1B visa allows these individuals to come to the U.S. temporarily to perform in specific events, competition or performance.

To qualify for a P-1B visa, the applicant must be a member of a group that has been recognized internationally for a sustained and substantial period of time. 

The group must have a high level of achievement in the field of entertainment, such as music, theater, or film. 

The P-1B visa is part of the broader P category of visas, which includes other categories like P-1A for internationally recognized athletes and P-2 for individual performers or reciprocal exchange programs.

Who is eligible for a P-1B visa?

The P-1B visa requirements include:

  • International Recognition: The entertainment group must have a high level of achievement and recognition in the field, demonstrated by a sustained and substantial period of success in more than one country. This could include a history of performances, critical acclaim, or other forms of recognition.
  • Established for One Year Minimum: At least 75% of the group members must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year
  • Group Qualification: The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of members will be taken into consideration
  • Specific Events or Engagements: The purpose of the visit must be to perform or participate in a specific event or series of events in the U.S.. This could include performances, competitions, or other events related to the group’s field of entertainment.

It’s important to note that individual entertainers who are not part of a group are not eligible for a P-1B visa.

Circus performers exception:

  • Circus performers and essential circus personnel are not required to comply with the one-year and internationally recognized requirements
  • Circus performers or essential circus personnel must be coming to join a nationally recognized circus

P-1B visa cost

The cost associated with obtaining a P-1B visa involves payment of the following government filing fees:

Form

Filing Fee

Form I-129
P-1B visa
  • $205 per applicant

Government fees are subject to change, check the most current P-1B filing fees:

  • Form I-129 fee
  • Premium Processing fee (optional)
  • P visa fee (see “Petition based visa categories”)

P-1B visa checklist of documents 

The following documents must be submitted with a P-1B visa application (submit photocopies only):

Required evidence

Acceptable documents

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • Completed and signed Form I-129 filed with USCIS
Consultation from labor organization
  • A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization
  • The consultation must describe:
    • The nature of the work to be done; OR
    • Statement proving that the group has been established and performing regularly for a period of at least 1 year
    • If no labor organization exists, consultation letter is not required
Itinerary
  • Nature of U.S. performances
  • Beginning and ending dates of the performances
Contract(s)
  • Copies of written contracts containing the terms of applicant’s employment in the U.S.
Evidence that group has been established and performing regularly for at least 1 year
  • Documentation of past tours, including itineraries, dates, and locations
  • Travel records and documentation of international performances
  • Copies of contracts and agreements with venues, promoters, or other entities for past performances
  • A comprehensive list of the group’s past performances, including dates, venues, and types of events
  • Programs or flyers from concerts, shows, or other performances
Statement from the petitioner
  • Statement listing each member of the group and the exact dates for which each member has been employed on a regular basis by the group
Evidence of international recognition Evidence that the group has been internationally recognized in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time:

  • Nomination for or receipt of significant international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field; OR
  • Evidence that the group has achieved three of the following:
    • Has and will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in productions/events with distinguished reputations
    • International recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievements
    • Has and will perform services as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments with a distinguished reputation
    • Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes
    • Significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government 
Form DS-160 confirmation page
Visa Application Fee
  • $205 visa fee payment
  • Visa fees are subject to change, check the latest P visa fees
If sponsoring family members Only if entertainer’s spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 applying for P-4 derivative visas:

  • Marriage certificate (for spouses)
  • Birth certificate (for children)
English translation
  • If any supporting documents are in a foreign language, provide certified English translations.
  • Attach the photocopy of the original document in foreign language

How to apply for a P-1B visa

Applying for a P-1B visa involves the following steps:

Step 1. File Form I-129:

Step 2. USCIS Approval:

  • Once the petition is filed, USCIS will review the documentation and make a decision on whether to approve or deny the petition
  • USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) during the review process
  • USCIS processing times vary, so it’s advisable to submit the petition well in advance of the planned event
  • If petition is approved, USCIS will issue a Form I-797, Notice of Action

Step 3. Visa Application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate:

  • After USCIS approves the petition, the performers can apply for a P-1B visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country
  • Applicant completes DS-160 Form online
  • Save the DS-160 confirmation page
  • Pay Visa Application Fee
  • Schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate 
  • Attend the interview with all required documents, including the Form I-129 approval notice, valid passport, DS-160 confirmation receipt, and other supporting documents.
  • Wait for Visa Issuance: After a successful interview, wait for the visa to be issued. The visa will be stamped in the passport

Step 4. Travel to the U.S.:

  • Enter the U.S. before the P-1B visa expiration date

P-1B visa benefits

The P-1B visa offer the following benefits:

  • Multiple Entries:
      • Performers with a P-1B visa can enter the U.S. multiple times for the duration of the visa’s validity. This is particularly beneficial if the performer is participating in multiple events, competitions or performances
  • Support Personnel Eligibility:
      • Support personnel who are essential to the group’s performance, may also be eligible for visas
  • Derivative Visas for Family:
      • Dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old) of P-1B visa holders may be eligible for P-4 visas, allowing them to accompany the performer to the U.S. However, they are not authorized to work but may attend a school or college
  • Length of Stay:
      • P-1B visa can be issued for up to 1 year, with possibility of extensions
  • No Cap on Visa Numbers:
    • Unlike some other visa categories (such as H-1B), there is no numerical cap on the issuance of P-1B visas, allowing eligible performers to obtain the visa without being subject to annual quotas

How long does a P-1B visa last?

P-1B visas can be granted for the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance up to one year.

P-1B visas can be extended in one-year increments to continue or complete the event, competition, or performance. Form I-129 is used to extend the P-1B status.

Family of P-1B visa holders

The family members of P-1B visa holders (performer’s spouse and unmarried children under 21), may be eligible for derivative P-4 visas:

  • P-4 Visa Eligibility:
      • The P-4 visa is designated for the immediate family members of P-1B visa holders:
        • Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21
  • No Work Authorization:
      • Holders of P-4 visas are not authorized to work in the U.S.
      • P-4 visa holders may attend a school or college in the U.S.
  • Dependent Status:
      • Family members on P-4 visas are considered dependents of the P-1B visa holder
      • They are dependent on the principal P-1B visa holder maintaining their valid status
  • Duration of Stay:
    • The P-4 visa is generally granted for the same duration as the P-1B visa holder’s authorized stay
    • Family members are expected to depart the U.S. when the P-1B visa holder departs or at the end of the authorized period of stay

P-1B visa processing time

It can take about 3-4 months to obtain a P-1B visa:

  • Form I-129 processing time – 1.5 months – 2 months
  • Scheduling interview at the U.S. Embassy – 1 calendar day to 15 calendar days
  • Visa issuance – 7 days

To check the most current processing times for P-1B visa applications:

  • Visit USCIS Processing Times, choose Form I-129 and select your service center (service center is printed in the lower left corner of the Form I-129 receipt notice)
  • Visit Visa Appointment Wait Times page (enter the US Embassy/Consulate location, check the “Interview Required Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)” timeline)

Keep in mind that processing times are general estimates, and individual cases may take less or more time to complete.

Related Links:

P Visa for Athletes, Artists and Entertainers

P-4 Visa for Dependents of P Visa Holders

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker