Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

USCIS Releases Guidance on Adjudicating P-2 Petitions


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memorandum (PDF) to the field to provide guidance on processing and adjudicating Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of P-2 nonimmigrants. In particular, the memo amends previous policy guidance stating that the Service Centers must contact USCIS Headquarters before adjudicating reciprocal exchange agreements that have not been approved previously.

The memo states that a petitioner must submit evidence that an appropriate labor organization in the U.S. was involved in negotiating, or has concurred with, the reciprocal exchange of the U.S. and foreign artists or entertainers. Given that the Service Centers possess the entire record, USCIS said, they are capable of determining if the reciprocal agreement meets the regulatory requirements. Effective immediately, Service Centers are not required to contact Headquarters if they encounter a reciprocal agreement not previously approved.

Because there is no requirement that P-2 entertainers be of exceptional ability, supporting documents are limited to basic items: the consultation, a copy of the reciprocal agreement, and evidence that the beneficiaries are subject to the reciprocal exchange.

Four P-2 reciprocal agreements have been negotiated: (1) between the American Federation of Musicians (U.S.) and the American Federation of Musicians (Canada); (2) between Actors’ Equity Association (U.S.) and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association; (3) between Actors’ Equity Association (U.S.) and the British Actors’ Equity Association; and (4) between the International Council of Air Shows and the Canadian Air Show Association. If a reciprocal agreement is submitted other than these four, USCIS said, the adjudicator must review the agreement to determine if the agreement adheres to the regulatory standard. A list of any new reciprocal agreements is maintained at Headquarters.

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