The P-1A Visa: Allowing Talented Athletes to Come to the U.S.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced updated guidance for adjudicating requests for P-1A nonimmigrant classification for internationally recognized athletes.

The guidance clarifies the meaning of the phrase “major United States sports league or team” as used in the regulations, 8 CFR 214.2(p)(4)(ii)(B), and specific to internationally recognized athletes, a category that is distinct from the additional P-1A categories created by the COMPETE Act of 2006. The guidance explains that USCIS interpret the phrase “major United States sports league” to mean one that has a distinguished reputation commensurate with an internationally recognized level of performance, and “major United States sports team” to mean a team that participates in such a league.

In addition, the updated guidance describes relevant considerations for determining whether competitions are at an internationally recognized level of performance such that they require the participation of an internationally recognized athlete or team.

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