Which Visa Is Best for Canadian Artists, Athletes and Entertainers? | Silver Immigration

Which Visa Is Best for Canadian Artists, Athletes and Entertainers?

If you’re a Canadian artist, musician, entertainer, lecturer, performer or person with a special talent who wants to perform in the US, you need a work permit. A temporary work permit, commonly referred to as a P-1 visa, is a non-immigrant status that lets you enter the US for a specific event, competition or performance. This visa is typically provided for the duration of the event; however, it can be granted for up to five years with extensions of up to 10 years.


To qualify for a P-1 visa, you must meet certain conditions. Eligible applicants for this visa include:

  • Athletes, athletic teams, entertainers and entertainment companies who’ve gained international recognition and are going to the US to compete in international events
  • P-1 visa holders’ support personnel
  • Companies in the US and agents who facilitate the travel of athletes, athletic teams, internationally recognized entertainers and support personnel to international events
  • Distinguished circus artists wishing to work in the US


Applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a P-1 visa. The following groups may apply:

Athletes and Sports Teams

  1. You must be internationally recognized in your sport and be visiting the US to perform services that necessitate such recognition.
  2. You must provide proof of a legal contract with a major US sports league or organization, as well as evidence of at least two of the following:
    – Prior seasons of significant participation in major sports leagues in the US
    – Participation with a national team in international competitions
    – Significant participation in intercollegiate competitions during a previous college/university season in the US
    – Written confirmation from a major US sports league or governing body official demonstrating you or your team’s international recognition
    – Statement in writing from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert
    – International rankings provided by globally recognized sports organizations
    – Significant honours and awards in sports

Artists and Entertainment Organizations

      1. Your group’s accomplishments must be recognized internationally, and your group must be visiting the US to perform services that necessitate such recognition.
      2. You must provide proof of a legal contract with a US employer or agent, as well as evidence that:
        – The proposed services in the US necessitate the involvement of an internationally recognized entertainment group
        – 75% of your group members have had a sustained and significant relationship with the group for at least one year and perform functions critical to the group’s performance
        – Your organization has received significant international awards, prizes and nominations for its outstanding accomplishments
      3. Your group must also provide evidence of at least three of the following:
        – Past or future performances as a starring or leading entertainment group in prestigious events
        – International recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievements
        – Significant commercial acclaim
        – High marks for your team’s accomplishments awarded by organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts
        – A high salary or other substantial remuneration comparable to others in a similar position


    This non-immigrant visa comes with many benefits. If you are a P-1 visa holder, you are permitted to:

        • Travel without restrictions
        • Participate in part-time study
        • Apply for a change of status and seek legal permanent residency in the US
        • Enter the US and perform for pay or prize money
        • Request visas for essential support personnel and dependents


    As with any temporary visa, entry or residence document, the P-1 visa is not without its limitations. They include:

        • P-1 visa applications can only be approved after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services consults with the relevant US sports league or organization
        • P-1 visa dependents may not work while in the US
        • P-1 entertainers must perform as a group

    Are You Looking for a US Immigration Lawyer in Montreal?

    If you need help acquiring a US working visa for Canadians, contact us at Silver Immigration. Our experienced US immigration lawyer has helped musicians, athletes and other performing artists navigate the P-1 visa process.

    Call us at 1 (888) 799-4769 or complete our contact form to request a free consultation.