Immigration’s Administrative Appeals Office clarifies that soccer is not an art for P3 visa purposes

July 19, 2017



On June 27, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) issued a Non-Precedent decision, Matter of Q-C-M, Inc. In their decision, they clarify that soccer is not an art for purposes of a P-3 visa classification.


The Petition was a nonprofit soccer youth soccer organization that attempted to classify a Spanish soccer player and coach as a foreign national who will perform, teach, or coach as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, under a culturally unique program. According to the AAO, a soccer player and coach is not an artist, soccer is not an art, and a style of soccer is not culturally unique.


The soccer organization argued that a specific soccer strategy from Barcelona, Spain is a culturally unique from of art. They asserted that the determination of what constitute art is a philosophical and subjective one. That because of its visual elements, soccer is an art. They also presented expert opinions that Barcelona style soccer is clearly culturally unique. In denying the petition, immigration points to the fact that the P-3 classification is provided to individuals or groups that are coming to the United States to perform, coach, or team a unique or traditionally ethic, folk, cultural, musical, theatric, or artistic performance or presentation. While immigration agreed that Barcelona has a unique style of playing soccer, it is not a culturally unique art form.



The AAO decision also stressed that the statute and regulation distinguish between athletics and art. Art is defined has including fields of creative activity or endeavor such as, but not limited to, fine arts, visual arts, and performing arts. Activities that will qualify for a P-3 classification must be creative in nature. While soccer requires ingenuity, without more it does not constitute a field of creative activity or endeavor.

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