Are you an accomplished athlete, team member, or even coach looking to get an U.S. Visa?
If so, you might even qualify as a subcategory of applicants known as P-1A applicants. According to USCIS, a P-1A applicant is a special athlete (or supporting member) coming to the U.S. with the sole purpose of advancing their athletic endeavors.
Due to the sheer number of professional and amateur athletes around the world, USCIS has carefully outlined the eligibility requirements for interested applicants. These requirements are meant to eliminate ordinary applicants from going through the P-1A process. Put simply, it is just not enough to be a passionate, hard-working athlete that wants to train in the U.S. Instead, these consular officers are only looking for the best of the best.
So then, what does USCIS want to see in their applicants?
According to the USCIS, the extraordinary skills and talents they want are often reflected by (1) an individual or team's international recognition, and/or (2) an organization's gross annual revenue. Consequently, applicants can expect that consular officers will carefully scrutinize both these factors when reviewing an application.
When it comes to international recognition, USCIS requires that the applicant demonstrates exemplary and extraordinary skills beyond their home country. In order to satisfy USCIS' definition of having “international recognition”, the applicant's skills must be “well-known” in more than one country. In addition, these skills must be demonstrated in well-known competitions where other internationally recognized athletes also participate in. All these stipulations are set in place to help USCIS find genuinely, talented individuals and teams that will add value if given a visa.
A team's gross annual revenue is the other big factor that consular officers will review. More specifically, USCIS explicitly outlines that in order an applicant to be a P-1A as a professional athlete, they must be joining a team that is a member of an association of at least 5 other professional teams. This association of 6 or more must have a total combined revenue that exceeds 10 million per year.
Besides being a member of a team and individual athlete, the coaches and trainers can also be eligible for this program. USCIS understands that these supporting members are integral to the success of the athletes. If this program were to only accept athletes but not their respective coaches, these athletes immigrating to the U.S. would most likely see a decrease in performance. Consequently, if their respective athletes were to qualify as a P-1A applicant, the coach would most likely be accepted as well.
These detailed requirements most likely tie back to the idea of adding value to the United States. If you were to think from the perspective of a USCIS consular officer, their main goal is to accept hard-working individuals that will positively contribute to the well-being of the United States.
With the vast number of applicants, the U.S. receives each year, these officers will naturally prefer the most competitive and accomplished individuals. If you believe you qualify as a P-1A or want to strengthen your visa application, it is necessary to get in touch with a lawyer that specializes in immigration.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice.
For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ms. Ramona Kennedy received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
She is licensed to practice in the United States Supreme Court, US Immigration Courts, California Federal Courts of Southern & Central District & All California Courts. Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing).
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