How To Get A P-2 Visa or Visa for Artists and Entertainers in Exchange Programs

True art knows no borders. Nowadays, the entertainment industry goes global and offers the amazing opportunity for a lot of gifted people around the world, to spread their passion and talent to the international audience.

Are you a creative spirit willing to perform abroad? Here is a list of things you should learn about P-2 Visa, before packing your things.

 HOW DO I GET STARTED?

Let us define the concept of a Visa in Exchange Programs (P Visa) first. Usually, it is designed for a category of culturally unique artists and athletes that have the lucky chance to perform in the United States, within a limited time frame. The immigration law designed a special type of visas for each category of applicants. Consequently, we have:

P-1 Visa a type of visa, created for internationally known athletes, which perform individually or as a part of a team. The international recognition standards go identically for both individual athletes and entertainment groups.

P-2 Visa - this kind of visa is designed for those who perform as artists or entertainers individually or coming as a group under a mutual exchange program, which means that this program must involve the same number of individuals and it must last for the same period. In addition, entertainment troupes or support personnel may also apply for P2 visa within a government-recognized exchange program. It has to be mentioned that a P-2 visa can’t be filed more than 6 months in advance before the actual need, so there is no need to hurry.

According to 2013 National Annual Flow Report, during 2012, there were 165 million non-immigrant admissions to the United States registered, 116 of these admissions were P-2 and P-3 Visas.

 WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO GATHER FOR P-2 VISA?

photo-1444427169197-de497742b62dBefore going to the embassy, make sure you’ve gathered all the required   documentation. Remember that a self – petition is not allowed. You will need P-2 Visa specific documents, such as Form   I-129, that will include:

  • A written declaration from the sponsoring organization that will enhance all the details;
  • Copy of the mutual agreement between the U.S. organization and the foreign one;
  • Proof that the foreign organization has been previously involved in the process of international exchange;
  • Proof that both U.S. artists and the foreign artists possess a comparable set of skills;
  • Proof that the terms and conditions are similar on both sides;
  • A written consultation from a labor organization or other approval from the Labor Department;
  • A brief explanation of the event (including the dates and locations of performances) and the itinerary if the event is taking place in multiple areas.

After USCIS approves the Petition, you may apply for a visa. The process of applying for visa may be different, depending on the embassy you apply in. If any changes in the terms and conditions of your exchange program occur, that may influence your eligibility; you must fill an amended petition. The process of getting a visa involves following steps:

  • You have to complete the Online Visa Application, Form DS-160. Don’t forget to print the confirmation page and bring it to the interview.
  • Upload your photo during your online application. It has to meet several requirements.
  • Schedule your interview and pay the non-refundable application fee, which is $190. Though, it may be different, depending on your embassy or consulate. Check all the specific information on their official website.
  • Some additional fees may apply, so better verify it
  • Bring all the required documentation, including non-immigrant visa application with the confirmation page, your passport valid for traveling to the U.S., photo, application fee payment receipt. There are cases when additional documentation is required, that will prove your economic situation, long-term plans, family relationships, etc.
  • Attend your interview. Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken meanwhile.

 HOW LONG DO I STAY WITH P-2 VISA?

Generally, the time frame should cover the imminent event or performance, but it shouldn’t be longer than 1 year. If you’re willing to extend it, consider applying for the extension of stay. You will have to file a request to USCIS.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE MY EMPLOYER UNDER A P-2 VISA?

Yes, it is. Remember that you can do it only after your new employer has filed a new Form I-129, subsequently, it must be approved.

CAN I BRING MY FAMILY IF I AM A P-2 VISA HOLDER?

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may accompany you by obtaining a P-4 status. Keep in mind that they are not allowed to engage in employment, but they may attend school or college.

WHAT ABOUT THE ESSENTIAL SUPPORT PERSONNEL?

P Visa, P-2 Visa, Visa for Artists and Entertainers in Exchange ProgramsEvery member of the team with specialized knowledge, including trainers and stagehands, are eligible for P-2 classification. The sponsor or the employer must file a separate Form I-129 for support personnel.

TO SUM IT UP

Dear artist, obtaining a visa is a very stressful process, especially when you are excited about the upcoming event. Let us handle it for you!

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Good luck!


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