P-3 Visa For Artists And Entertainers:

An Overview

Introduction

P-3 visa is available for foreign national artists and entertainers who are coming temporarily to the United States to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique. The program may be of a commercial or noncommercial nature and the foreign national artists or entertainers could be performing either individually or as part of a group. Along with the principal foreign national artists or entertainers who qualify for a P-3 visa, essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance of such principal artists or entertainers, and who perform support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker are also eligible to seek a P-3 visa.

OR
Check My Eligibility

This article offers an overview of the USA P-3 visa requirements, the P-3 visa process, as well as a few important features of the P-3 visa.

The P-3 Visa For Artists and Entertainers In Culturally Unique Programs

1. The P-3 Visa USA: Who Qualifies?

The key P-3 visa requirements that the foreign national artist or entertainer must satisfy are:

  • The artist or entertainer must be coming to the United States for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation
  • The artist or entertainer must be coming to the United States to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of his or her art form.

For Essential Support Personnel

If an individual is seeking the P-3 visa as the Essential Support Personnel of the primary P-3 entertainer, artist or group:

  • He or she must perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of services by the P-3 artist or entertainer
  • He or she must have appropriate qualifications to perform the services, critical knowledge of the specific services to be performed, and experience in providing such support to the P-3 artist or entertainer

2. “Culturally Unique” – What Does It Mean?

Regulations define ‘Culturally Unique’ to mean a style of artistic expression, methodology, or medium which is unique to a particular country, nation, society, class, ethnicity, religion, tribe, or other group of persons. USCIS has clarified that the culturally unique style of art or entertainment is NOT limited to traditional art forms, but may include artistic expressions that are deemed to be a hybrid or fusion of more than one culture or region.

Examples of “culturally unique” art forms: Irish Dance, Kenyan Drums, Indian Classical Dance, etc.


P-3 Visa Process For Artists And Entertainers.

My Case Scenario
Peter Nevin

Q: The “Dublin Performers” is a group that performs traditional Irish Dance and is entirely made up of American dancers of Irish descent. During one of their shows outside the U.S. they came across Peter Nevin, an Irish Dance coordinator and event manager. Impressed with his skills, they wanted to work with him on a few shows in the U.S. They want to know if they can bring Peter to the U.S. on a P-3 visa as an Essential Support Personnel.

A: To be eligible to seek a P-3 visa for essential support personnel, the foreign national must perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of services by a P-3 artist or entertainer, and he must have had experience in providing such support to the P-3 artist or entertainer. In this case, as the “Dublin Performers” are American, there are no principal P-3 entertainers or artists. As such Peter would not qualify for a P-3 Essential Support Personnel visa.


3. The P-3 Visa Process

To begin the P-3 visa process, the U.S. sponsoring entity that intends to bring the artist or entertainer into the U.S. must first submit Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker, to USCIS. The P-3 petition may not be filed more than one year before the actual need for the artist or entertainer’s services in the U.S.

Essential support personnel cannot be included on the P-3 petition filed for a principal artist or entertainer. A separate petition needs to be filed for such qualified essential support personnel seeking a P-3 visa classification. However, more than one beneficiary may be included in a P-3 petition if they are members of a group seeking classification based on the reputation of the group as an entity, or if they will provide essential support to P-3 artists or entertainers performing in the same location and in the same occupation.


Get A Free Visa Assessment
From An Experienced Immigration Attorney

4. P-3 Petition Supporting Documents

A petition for P-3 visa classification for a foreign national artist or entertainer must be accompanied by the following documents, among others:

  • Evidence that the performance of the artist or entertainer or the group is culturally unique;
  • Evidence that all of the performances or presentations will be culturally unique events;
  • Copies of written contracts between the petitioner and the foreign national artist or entertainer, or if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which he or she will be employed;
  • An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities;
  • A written consultation from a labor organization with expertise in the area of the foreign national’s skill.

A petition for P-3 visa classification as an Essential Support Personnel must be accompanied by the following documents, among others:

  • A statement describing the foreign national’s prior essentiality, critical skills and experience with the principal P-3 entertainer or artist or group;
  • A copy of the written contract or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement between the foreign national and the employer; and,
  • A written consultation from a labor organization with expertise in the area of the foreign national’s skill.

IMPORTANT
Consultation with an appropriate labor organization regarding the nature of the work to be done and the foreign national artist or entertainer’s qualifications is mandatory before a P-3 petition can be approved. The consultation or “advisory opinion” must be in writing, signed by an authorized official of the organization, and must generally be submitted to the USCIS along with the petition when the petition is filed. Alternatively, a labor organization may also submit a letter of no objection if it has no objection to the approval of the petition. In cases where the petitioner can establish that an appropriate labor organization does not exist, USCIS may decide the application on the basis of the evidence on record.

5. Admission Into The U.S. On A US P-3 Visa

Once the P-3 petition is approved by USCIS, the artist(s) or entertainer(s) may apply for the P-3 visa at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

If the foreign national is already in the U.S. in a valid nonimmigrant status (other than Visa Waiver), the P-3 visa may not be required if the petition is filed with a “change of status” request.

Under the P-3 visa classification, foreign national artists, entertainers, and essential support personnel are initially admitted for a period of time that is determined to be necessary to complete the event, activity, or performance for which the P-3 artist or entertainer is coming to the U.S., not to exceed one year.


6. P-4 Visa For The Family Members Of P-3 Visa Holders

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a P-3 artist, entertainer or essential support personnel are entitled to seek P-4 visa classification. If they are accompanying or following to join the P-3 foreign national in the U.S., they will be subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the P-3 foreign national. However, neither the spouse nor a child may accept employment while in the U.S. on a P-4 visa, but they may attend school or college.


7. After Admission Into The U.S.

Change of Employers

While in the U.S., a foreign national artist or entertainer is allowed to work only for the entity that sponsored his or her P-3 visa petition. If, however, a P-3 artist or entertainer in the U.S. wishes to change the sponsoring entity, the new sponsor must file a new petition with a request to extend the foreign national’s stay in the U.S. The artist or entertainer cannot commence employment with the new employer or sponsor until the petition and request for extension have been approved.

Extension of Stay

An extension of stay may be sought on behalf of P-3 artists, entertainers and essential support personnel in the U.S., to enable them continue or complete the same event or activity for which they were admitted into the U.S. Extensions of stay may be authorized in increments of up to 1 year to enable them continue or complete the same event, activity or performance. There is no limit as to the number of extensions that may be requested.

Termination of Services

If the employment of the P-3 artist or entertainer or essential support personnel is terminated for reasons other than voluntary resignation, then the employer and the U.S. Petitioner are liable to pay to such P-3 foreign national the reasonable cost of return transportation to his or her residence abroad.


Conclusion

The P-3 visa is a great alternative for foreign national artists and entertainers who may not meet the standard for the P-1 or O-1 visa classifications. Those coming to the U.S. to either perform, teach or otherwise exhibit work that can be classified as culturally unique do not have to prove that their work is extraordinary, or that they have achieved international recognition.

We have successfully handled US P-3 visa for a variety of clients ranging from solo artist to large entertainers group. Our top immigration attorneys will be happy to assist you. Schedule A Free Immigration Lawyer Consultation Today >>


Click here to add a comment

What VisaPro Customers Are Saying

Knowledgeable, fast, courteous, efficient are all words that describe the services I received from VisaPro. They were very helpful in all phases of the H-1B visa process and they got it right the first time. I have tried other Visa services, but VisaPro is the best by far. VisaPro is the only way to go!"

Get a Free Visa Assessment