P-2 Visa for Performers in Exchange Programs

P-2 Visa for Individual Performers or Exchange Programs

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What is a P-2 visa?

  • P-2 visa is issued to individuals who are artists or entertainers who are coming to the U.S. to perform as part of a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and another country
  • This visa is designated for:
    • Individual performers (artists or entertainers), or
    • Part of a performance or entertainment group
  • P-2 visas are typically valid for the duration of the specific performance or event, up to a maximum period of one year
  • Extensions may be granted in certain circumstances

Who is eligible for a P-2 visa?

P-2 visa requirements include:

  • Artists or Entertainers: Individuals or groups who are artists or entertainers, including musicians, actors, dancers, performers, and other cultural performers, are eligible for a P-2 visa
  • Reciprocal Exchange Program: The performance must be part of a reciprocal exchange program between organizations in the U.S. and one or more foreign countries. This program should involve the exchange of artists or entertainers between the United States and the foreign country, offering similar opportunities for U.S. artists or entertainers to perform abroad.
  • Skills: Applicants should possess skills comparable to those of the U.S. artists and entertainers taking part in the program outside the U.S.

The following exchange programs meet the P-2 visa requirements:

  • The American Federation of Musicians (U.S.) and the American Federation of Musicians (Canada);
  • Actor’s Equity Association (U.S.) and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association;
  • Actor’s Equity Association (U.S.) and the British Actors’ Equity Association;
  • The International Council of Air Shows and the Canadian Air Show Association.
  • The Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and the Screen Actor Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

P-2 visa cost

The cost associated with obtaining a P-2 visa involves payment of the following government filing fees:

Application step

Filing Fee

Form I-129
P-2 visa
  • $205 per applicant

Government fees are subject to change, check the most current P-2 filing fees:

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

P-2 visa checklist of documents

The following documents must be submitted with a P-2 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
  • Evidence that the appropriate labor organization in the US was involved in negotiating or has concurred with the reciprocal exchange of US and foreign artists or entertainers
Exchange agreement documentation
  • Copy of the reciprocal exchange agreement between the U.S. and foreign country
Proof of skills
  • Evidence that applicants possess skills comparable to US artists and entertainers taking part in the program outside the U.S.
Statement from the sponsoring organization
  • Statement from the sponsoring organization describing the exchange of U.S. artists or entertainers as it relates to the specific petition for which classification is sought
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 the main visa holder’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-2 visa

Applying for a P-2 visa involves the following steps:

Step 1. File Form I-129:

  • The U.S. employer, U.S. agent, foreign employer or sponsoring organization must file a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with USCIS
  • The petition should include the supporting documents (see the checklist above)

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 artist or entertainer can apply for a P-2 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-2 visa expiration date

How long can you stay in the US with a P-2 visa?

  • Length of Performance or Engagement: Typically, the duration of stay granted on a P-2 visa corresponds to the length of the approved performance or engagement in the U.S. up to a maximum initial period of one year.
  • Extensions: if additional time to continue or complete the event, competition or performance is required, extensions in one-year increments are available
  • To request an extension, Form I-129 must be filed with USCIS

What is the difference between a P-1 and P-2 visa?

The primary difference between a P-1 visa and a P-2 visa lies in the nature of the performances or engagements for which they are granted:

P-1 Visa:

  • The P-1 visa is designed for internationally recognized athletes and entertainment groups
  • This includes individual athletes or teams, as well as entertainment groups, who are internationally recognized for their achievements 
  • Applicants are coming to the U.S. to participate in a specific athletic competition, event, or performance
  • P-1 visa holders may be issued for up to a maximum initial period of five years, with extensions possible

P-2 Visa:

  • The P-2 visa is designated for artists or entertainers who are coming to the U.S. to perform as part of a reciprocal exchange program 
  • Eligible exchange programs include cultural reciprocal agreements between organizations in the U.S. and one or more foreign countries
  • P-2 visa holders may be issued for up to a maximum initial period of one year, with extensions possible

Family of P-2 visa holders

The family members of P-2 visa holders (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-2 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-2 visa holder
      • They are dependent on the principal P-2 visa holder maintaining their valid status
  • Duration of Stay:
    • The P-4 visa is generally granted for the same duration as the P-2 visa holder’s authorized stay
    • Family members are expected to depart the U.S. when the P-2 visa holder departs or at the end of the authorized period of stay

P-2 visa processing time

It can take about 3-4 months to obtain a P-2 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-2 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