Visas for international athletes

Sports are one of the few things that brings people of completely different cultures in countries around the world together to enjoy an event. When an athlete makes their mark on the world and becomes internationally recognizable, they will likely find themselves in the United States to compete at some point and therefore will require a visa. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has a visa specifically for internationally recognized athletes, known as the P-1 A classification. This classification is available not only for individuals, but also for entire athletic teams.

In order to be considered eligible for this type of visa, you will have to file a Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker, or Form I-129. If coming to the United States as an individual, it is important for you to be able to show that you are, in fact, an athlete with exceptional skill levels that is well-recognized in more than one country around the world. If you are coming as a team, it is important that your team is widely known in multiple countries. A Form I-129 also requires a number of supporting documents that provide information about your application such as “a written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league…which details how you or your team is internationally recognized,” among many other pieces of evidence.

It is important that you have the appropriate visas and documentation when you enter the United States for an athletic event so you do not have issues and therefore relinquish your position in the competition. Talk to an immigration attorney if you have any questions.

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding these matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and obtain your initial consultation.

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