What Are the Type O and Type P Visas?

The Immigration Act of 1990 established new visa classifications for athletes, entertainers, artists, and those with extraordinary abilities in the fields of science, academics, art, athletics, and business, titled type O and type P. The O and P visas are non-immigrant temporary work permits, allowing foreign nationals to enter the United States for employment with an American company for a period up to three years. Both types of visas are issued quickly, allowing the holder to travel freely in or outside the United States, and they permit the inclusion of accompanying personnel and certain family members.

What Are the Classifications of the Type O Visa?

The O visa has four classifications:

  • O-1A: Foreign nationals demonstrating extraordinary abilities in science, academics, business, arts, or athletics, excluding motion pictures, television, and the arts.
  • O-1B: Individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in the motion picture or television industry or the arts.
  • O-2: Accompanying support personnel to an O-1 artist or athlete assisting in a performance or specific sporting event.
  • O-3: Spouse and children of the O-1 and O-2 visa recipients.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements of the Type O Visa?

Applicants must demonstrate extraordinary ability through international recognition, acclaim, or award, such as a Pulitzer Prize or Olympic medal, in their field. 

In addition, applicants must provide at least three of the following criteria:

  • Active membership in field-related associations requiring outstanding accomplishments of members, as judged by national and international experts.
  • Coverage of accomplishments in professional trade journals or major media publications.
  • Participation as a judge, individually or on a panel, of others’ work in the same field.
  • Proof of significant contributions in the science, academic, or business field.
  • Author of scholarly articles in trade journals or major media publications.
  • Employment in a leading or critical role with a distinguished and recognized company or institution.
  • Evidence demonstrating commandment of a high salary or other outstanding recompense for services.

Arts Classification

Applicants for the arts classification must be demonstrate recognition as prominent in the field through nomination or receipt of significant national or international awards, such as an Oscar, Grammy, or Emmy award. Additionally, the sponsoring American company must provide proof through at least three of the following criteria:

  • Proof the applicant has prior and future performances in a leading or starring role in reputable productions or events, with accompanying published reviews, publicity releases, advertisements, endorsements, and publication contracts.
  • Evidence the applicant is nationally or internationally recognized for their achievements by reviews or coverage authored by or about the applicant in major news outlets, trade journals, magazines, and other notable publications.
  • Demonstration the establishment or organization the applicant has, or will be performing with, a distinguished reputation documented by trade journal and news outlet publications and testimonials.
  • Documentation the applicant has received substantial commercial or critically acclaimed success, such as box office receipts, standing in the field, film and television ratings, reported in major news outlets, trade journals, and other publications.
  • Evidence the applicant is the recipient of significant recognition from experts in the field, such as government agencies or critics, along with documentation of the expert’s knowledge and authority of the applicant’s achievements.
  • Proof the applicant commands a high salary or recompense for their work compared to others in the field.

Those applying for the O-2 visa as support personnel must demonstrate they are an integral part of the O-1 holder’s performance and offer unique skills that cannot be duplicated by an American worker. Support personnel in the film or television sector must show their assistance and unique skills are critical based on a longstanding relationship with the holder, the specific production, or that the production will take place outside the United States and the applicant’s participation is essential.

What Are the Classifications of the Type P Visa?

There are four classifications of the P visa:

  • P-1A: Foreign individual athletes or athletic teams coming to the United States to perform in a specific athletic competition or event.
  • P-1B: Foreign individual entertainers or entertainment groups coming to temporarily perform in the United States.
  • P-2: Individual artists, entertainers, and entertainment groups to perform in the United States as part of an exchange program with an organization in another country.
  • P-3: Individual or group artists and entertainers coming to the United States to perform, teach, or coach in a culturally unique program or event.
  • P-4: Spouse or certain relatives of P-1, P-2, and P-3 visa holders.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements of the Type P Visa?

Qualifying applicants as an athlete or athletic team must be internationally recognized in the sport, and provide a contract agreement with a sports league, team, or international sporting event in the United States. Additionally, applicants must meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Evidence of significant prior participation with a major American sports league, college, or intercollegiate competition. 
  • Proof that applicant participated with a national team in an international sports competition.
  • A statement written by an official of an American sport league or governing body acknowledging the athlete or team is internationally recognized. 
  • Written proof from sport media or reputable expert acknowledging the athlete or team is internationally recognized.
  • Evidence of the athlete or team’s international ranking in the sport.
  • Proof the athlete or team is the recipient of significant awards and honors in the sport.

Entertainment Category

The entertainer category only applies to groups, not individuals. Entertainment groups must demonstrate achieved international recognition, have performed regularly for at least one year, and that 75 percent or more of its current members have been employed with and performing with the troupe for at least one year. Additionally, the American sponsor must provide proof of the entertainment group’s international recognition through awards or prizes, and the group meet at least three of the following criteria:

  • Proof the troupe will be starring or leading events or productions with distinguished reputations and provide published reviews and materials demonstrating the group’s achievements have received international acclaim and recognition.
  • Evidence of significant commercial or critical acclaim through box office receipts or ratings in the field.
  • Proof of significant recognition from critics, organizations, government agencies, and other experts in the field for achievements.
  • Documentation showing the entertainment group commands a substantial salary or recompense related to their expert-level abilities and international reputation.

The P visa is also granted to essential support personnel accompanying these individuals or companies. Similar to the O visa, support personnel must provide documentation showing they are an integral part of the P visa holder’s performance, with a prior relationship and an unduplicated skillset.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Clients Applying for Temporary Type O and Type P Visas

Planning to work with an American athletic or entertainment organization in the United States? Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. can help you with the application process. Call us at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.