P-3 Visas

(P-3) Culturally Unique Artists

The P-3 visa applies to artists and entertainers traveling to the United states individually or as a group under a culturally unique program of a commercial or noncommercial nature for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, or coaching their art form, or to teach a unique, traditional, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical art form or to participate in an artistic performance or presentation. In order to be eligible, P-3 aliens must engage in a cultural event or events that will further the understanding or development of the alien’s art form. The coverage of this category also extends to essential personnel who form an integral part of the performance of the individual artist or entertainer.

P-3 Requirements
  • The alien must demonstrate that they have achieved excellence in their field;
  • The alien’s trip must be for the sole purpose of promoting and facilitating the art form;
  • The alien must demonstrate that they have been involved in a culturally unique program for a substantial period;
  • The alien must have achieved national or international recognition or acclaim; and
  • The majority of the alien’s performances must be culturally unique events;

The petitioner must prove that the performers are highly respected and well-known in their field of art. It is also necessary to prove that the artist or troupe will be working within the context of a culturally unique program. Once approved, the P-3 alien can apply for their visa at a U.S. consulate overseas if the alien resides abroad.

P-3 Supporting Documents

The following is a list of some documents that should be included in the P-3 visa petition along with USCIS Form I-129 Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker and P Supplement for culturally unique artists. An I-129 petition cannot be filed by the P-3 alien. Instead the sponsoring organization or U.S. employer must file the I-129 petition on the alien’s behalf. Additionally, a petition for a support person must be filed separately by the petitioner. The following list is not all inclusive and specific details pertaining to your application should be discussed with a licensed attorney in detail. Additional documents may be necessary depending on the specific case.

The list includes but is not limited to the following items:

  • Biographical documents of the alien such as a copy of passport ID page, copies of current or previous U.S. visa ID pages, copy of alien’s I-94 arrival/departure record (if applicable);
  • Alien’s Resume or CV;
  • The petitioner must provide a written consultation from an appropriate labor organization with expertise in the corresponding discipline (if applicable) describing the work or services to be performed in the United States and the alien’s qualifications necessary to perform the services;
  • A copy of the written contract between the U.S. employer and artist describing the terms of the agreement or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement consented to by the alien;
  • Affidavits, testimonials, or letters from recognized experts attesting to the authenticity of your skills in performing, presenting, coaching, or teaching the unique or traditional art form. The document must provide the expert’s credentials and basis of the experts’ knowledge of your skill or documentation that you or your group’s performance is cultural unique evidenced by reviews in the media (newspaper, journals, published materials);
  • Documentation evidencing that all performances or presentations will be culturally unique events;
  • Explanation of the event including itinerary if there will be multiple locations for the performances or events with dates and locations of events;
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Essential Support Personnel of P-3 Aliens

Support personnel who form an integral part of the performance of the P-3 culturally unique artist who are otherwise essential to the performance of the P-3 alien, can obtain a visa under the P-3 visa classification. Petitioner’s must demonstrate that the support person is highly skilled, essential to the performance of the P-3 alien, meets the qualifications to perform a support role, maintains critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed, maintains experience in providing the needed support to the P-3 alien, and demonstrate that he or she performs support services that cannot readily be performed by a U.S. worker. Support personnel may include coaches, scouts, trainers, team officials, or other persons with critical knowledge of the services to be performed. Support persons cannot file a petition on their own behalf, instead the sponsoring organization or U.S. employer otherwise known as the ‘petitioner’ must file a separate USCIS Form I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker on their behalf along with P supplement. The U.S. Employer/Petitioner should include the following supporting documents along with the alien’s petition:

  • Biographical documents of the alien such as copy of passport ID page, copies of current or previous U.S. visa ID pages, copy of alien’s I-94 arrival/departure record (if applicable);
  • Alien’s Resume or CV;
  • A consultation from the appropriate labor organization with expertise in the area of the support person’s skill;
  • A statement from the petitioner describing the person’s experience, critical skills, and essentially to the P-3 alien;
  • A copy of the written contract between the U.S. employer and support person describing the terms of the agreement or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement consented to by the alien;
  • Other relevant documentation to demonstrate the support personnel’s significant skill level in the area of expertise and experience performing the essential support services to the P-3 alien;
Stay and Extensions

The duration for which the P-3 visa is issued is the time necessary to complete the specific competition, event, or performance. Initially P-3 aliens are issued visas of no more than 1 year Extensions may be sought to continue performance in the event or performance for a maximum period of 1 year applied for in increments.

Dependents

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of P-2 aliens can obtain P-4 derivative status. Dependents cannot seek employment, but can attend school or college under this classification.

Port of Entry

Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has authority to deny admission at the port of entry to any applicant who is inadmissible under INA, even if the applicant has a visa. Also, the CBP, not the consular officer, determines the period for which the bearer of a P-3 visa is authorized to remain in the United States. At the port of entry, CBP officials issue Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted. The decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay, however, is made solely by the USCIS.

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