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
- You must be internationally recognized in your sport and be visiting the US to perform services that necessitate such recognition.
- 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
- Your group’s accomplishments must be recognized internationally, and your group must be visiting the US to perform services that necessitate such recognition.
- 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
- 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.