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Elizee Law Firm is a full service immigration law firm. We can guide you through your current immigration issues. Athletes and team may qualify for various visas to enter into the United States.

Visa for Athletes and Teams

P-1 Visa

The P-1A visa is often the appropriate choice for athletes and athletic teams of exceptional ability who are coming to the U.S. temporarily, for a specific competition. It is limited to individuals or teams who compete at an internationally recognized level of performance.

P-1A Visa Requirements:

1. U.S. employer file a Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker along with a     fee and documentation supporting the petition.

2. The employer must also submit a consultation form from the appropriate labor     organization, when applicable.

Individual athletes may remain in the U.S. on a P-visa for up to five years. Athletic teams may remain for the duration needed to complete the competition but up to a maximum of 1 year period of six months.

O Visas for Athletes

The O visa is a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa reserved for those of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, arts, or athletics. It is issued to athletes who are coming to the U.S. solely for the purpose of participating in their athletic sport.

O Visa Requirements:

1. Athlete must be uniquely qualified for the position.

2. Athlete must have a residence abroad that they do not plan to give up.

The initial issuance of an O visa allows an athlete to remain in the U.S. for three years. After that, the athlete may apply for an unlimited number of one-year extensions.

Visa for Amateur Athletes (Under age 18)

Short Term Visit

International amateur athletes who want to attend short term training courses or summer programs can come to the U.S. as visitors. If the amateur athlete comes from a country that participates in the visa waiver program then he or she can come to the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa to receive short term training in the U.S. or participate in tournaments. If the visa waiver is not available, the athlete must apply for a B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa from the U.S. consulate in his or her country of residence. This visa would allow the athlete to stay in the U.S. up to 180 days.

Long Term Visit

Amateur athletes under 18 who want to receive long term sports training over six months often must come to the U.S. using an F-1 Student Visa. The athlete must attend the private school in the morning (or some other time during the day) and can train in the sport when not in school.

Education usually must take place in private school rather than in public school, because immigration laws permit issuance of F-1 visas to students under 18 to attend public school only for 12 months. An F-1 visa will not be issued for students who receive home schooling or study through the internet.

F-1 Student Visa Requirements:

1.  Athlete must be accepted by a school authorized to accept foreign students.

2.  Athlete must show he or she has the ability to pay for private school  education.

3.  Upon approval, an I-20 form will be issued and must be given to the U.S. consulate in his or her country of residence to obtain the F-1 visa.

P-1 Visa Requirements:

Instead of an F-1 Student Visa, some amateur athletes and teams can qualify for a P-1 visa. To qualify as an individual, the athlete must show that he or she has achieved international recognition. The government has a list of six criteria for showing international recognition and the amateur athlete or team must meet at least two of these six criteria.

The criteria that are most commonly used include:

  • Evidence of having participated in international competition with a national team;

  • A written statement from an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;

  • A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;

  • Evidence that the individual or team is ranked if the sport has international rankings; or

  • Evidence that the alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.

Elizee Law Firm is full service immigration law firm. We can guide you and your family through your current immigration case. Our staff is fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole. Contact us at (305) 371-8846.

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