P-3 Visa for Artist or Entertainer in Culturally Unique Program

P-3 Visa for Artist or Entertainer in Culturally Unique Program

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What is a P-3 visa?

  • A P-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to individuals coming to the U.S. to perform, teach, or coach in a culturally unique program
  • This visa category is specifically designed for artists or entertainers, either individually or as part of a group
  • Applicants are coming to the U.S. to participate in a culturally unique program that is considered traditional, ethnic, folk, cultural, or artistic
  • Typically, the applicant’s sponsoring organization or employer in the U.S. will petition for the P-3 visa on their behalf

Who is eligible for a P-3 visa?

To be eligible for a P-3 visa, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • Cultural Program Participation: The applicant must be coming to the U.S. to participate in a culturally unique program or event. This program should involve traditional, folk, ethnic, or artistic performances, presentations, or activities that are considered culturally unique.
  • Individual or Group Participation: The P-3 visa is available for both individual performers and groups of performers. Applicants are coming to the US to develop, interpret, represent, coach, or teach a culturally unique performance or presentation
  • Authenticity of Skills: The applicant must demonstrate their qualifications and expertise in the cultural art form or performance style involved. This may include providing evidence of past performances, training, awards, or recognition in their field.
  • Sponsorship: P-3 visa must be sponsored by a U.S.-based organization or employer. The sponsor is responsible for petitioning for the P-3 visa on behalf of the applicant and providing supporting documentation about the program’s cultural significance.
  • Temporary Intent: Like other nonimmigrant visas, the P-3 visa is for temporary entry into the U.S. Applicants must demonstrate their intent to enter the U.S. temporarily for the purpose of participating in the culturally unique program or event and must show that they plan to return to their home country after the program ends.

Do you need a sponsor for a P-3 visa?

  • Yes, you typically need a sponsor for a P-3 visa
  • The sponsor is usually the U.S.-based organization or employer that is hosting or organizing the culturally unique program in which the applicant will be participating
  • The sponsor is responsible for petitioning for the P-3 visa on behalf of the applicant.

Here are some key points about sponsorship for a P-3 visa:

  • Petitioning: The sponsoring organization or employer must file a petition (Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) with USCIS on behalf of the P-3 visa applicant. This petition should provide details about the culturally unique program, the applicant’s role in the program, and evidence of the cultural uniqueness of the program.
  • Organization Requirements: The sponsoring organization must demonstrate its ability to administer the program and its cultural significance. This may include providing documentation such as letters of support, descriptions of the program, information about the organization’s history and mission, and any relevant certifications or awards.
  • Supporting Documentation: Along with the petition, the sponsor must provide supporting documentation to prove the cultural uniqueness of the program and the applicant’s qualifications. This may include letters of recommendation, promotional materials, press coverage, or other evidence of the program’s cultural significance.
  • Responsibilities: As the sponsor, the organization or employer is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the P-3 visa are adhered to, including the applicant’s participation in the program and compliance with U.S. immigration laws. The sponsor may also be responsible for providing support to the visa holder during their stay in the U.S.

How long does a P-3 visa last?

Key points regarding the duration of a P-3 visa:

  • Initial Period: Initially, a P-3 visa is granted for the time needed to complete the event, activity or performance for which the applicant is coming to the U.S. Initial visa can be issued for up to 1 year
  • Extensions: Extensions may be granted in 1-year increments at a time, if the applicant continues to participate in the same culturally unique program or event. To request an extension, Form I-129 must be filed with USCIS
  • Change of Employer or Program: If the P-3 visa holder wishes to change employers or participate in a different culturally unique program or event, new Form I-129 must be filed with USCIS before making the change

How much does a P-3 visa cost?

The cost associated with obtaining a P-3 visa involves payment of the following government filing fees:

Application step

Filing Fee

Form I-129
P-3 visa
  • $205 per applicant

Government fees are subject to change, check the most current P-3 filing fees:

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

P-3 visa checklist of documents

The following documents must be submitted with a P-3 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
  • Copy of the contract between the petitioner (U.S. organization sponsoring the applicant) and beneficiary (applicant)
Information about event and itinerary
  • Detailed description of the culturally unique event
  • Detailed itinerary
Proof of skills Evidence of authenticity of the applicant’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching, or teaching the unique and traditional art forms:

  • Affidavits
  • Testimonials
  • Letters from recognized experts
  • Reviews in newspapers, journals or other published materials
Proof of cultural uniqueness
  • Documentation that all of the performances or presentations will be culturally unique events
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 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-3 visa

Applying for a P-3 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 applicant can start P-3 visa application 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-3 visa expiration date

Family of P-3 visa holders

The family members of P-3 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-3 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-3 visa holder
      • They are dependent on the principal P-3 visa holder maintaining their valid status
  • Duration of Stay:
    • The P-4 visa is generally granted for the same duration as the P-3 visa holder’s authorized stay
    • Family members are expected to depart the U.S. when the P-3 visa holder departs or at the end of the authorized period of stay

P-3 visa processing time

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