Non-immigrant visa for athletes and entertainers


O-1 Visa:

The O-1A visa classification is reserved for persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics.

The O-1B is for those with extraordinary achievement in motion pictures and television production, and essential support personnel.

Only individuals can qualify for the O-1 visa category. In order for a group to qualify, each member would be required to meet the extraordinary ability test.

The O-1 visa may be granted for a specific event, such as a tour, lecture series, or project.


O-2 Visa:

The O-2 visa classification is for athletes and members of the entertainment industry who are an integral part of an O-1A activity or essential to the completion of an O-1B performance while possessing critical skills and experience not available in the United States. Such persons may apply for O-2 visas to accompany an O-1 visa holder.


O-3 Visa:

The O-3 classification is reserved for the spouse or children of those who hold O-1’s and O-2’s.


P-1 Visa:

The P- 1A visa classification provides for admission into the United States of certain internationally recognized athletes individually or as part of a group or team who are participating in an individual event, competition, or performance. The P-1B is reserved for entertainers and artists who are recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. Essential support personnel may also acquire the visa.


P-2 Visa:

The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers. Essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance of the P-2 artist or performer are eligible for P-2 classification.


P-3 Visa:

The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.

Filing the FORM I-129 Petition with USCIS:

All applicants for O and P visas must petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States for approval. This is done by filing a FORM I-129 petition, and the appropriate supplemental documentation, with the USCIS.

After the USCIS approves the FORM I-129, the employer or agent is sent a Notice of Action, Form I-797, the notification of petition approval. An I-797 approval notice is not a visa. The beneficiary of the FORM I-129 petition must obtain a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to enter the U.S.


Visas for family members:

  • Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 can receive O-3 or P-4 visas to accompany the principal to the U.S.
  • If family members apply after the principal’s O or P visa has been issued, they will need to have a copy of the previously issued visa included with their applications.



We represent clients worldwide and offer consultations with an experienced Board-Certified immigration lawyer, either by telephone, Zoom, or at our Houston office. To schedule an appointment to talk privately with one of our experienced attorneys, call (713) 527-9606 or contact us online.

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