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USCIS Clarifies P-1 Expansion


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released a memorandum to the field on P-1 admission for minor league professionals, entertainers, and teams under the COMPETE Act of 2006, which expanded the P-1 nonimmigrant visa classification to include certain athletes who were admitted formerly as H-2B nonimmigrants.

The following types of athletes and performers who seek admission for the purpose of performing in a competition or theatrical ice skating production fall under the P-1 nonimmigrant visa classification:

  • An individual who performs as an athlete, individually or as part of a group, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
  • A professional athlete employed by: (1) a team that is a member of an association of six or more professional sports teams whose total combined revenues exceed $10 million per year, if the association governs the conduct of its members and regulates the contests and exhibitions in which its member teams regularly engage, or (2) any minor league team that is affiliated with such an association.
  • Individual coaches or athletes performing with teams or franchises located in the U.S. that are part of an international league or association of 15 or more amateur sports teams if: (1) the foreign league is operating at the highest level of amateur performance in the relevant foreign country; (2) participation in that foreign league renders the players ineligible, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, to earn a scholarship or participate in the sport at a college or university in the U.S. under the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association; and (3) where a significant number of players who play in the foreign leagues are drafted by major league or minor league affiliates of such sports leagues in the U.S.
  • Amateur or professional ice skaters who perform, individually or as part of a group, in theatrical ice skating productions or tours.

USCIS noted that the COMPETE Act excludes any foreign athlete (professional or amateur) , or coach, from countries deemed state sponsors of international terrorism. Revised P-1 regulations will follow, USCIS said. The notice is posted here.

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