The P-2 Visa
Application for an Artist or
1. P-2 Visa for an Artist or Entertainer under a Reciprocal Exchange Program
P-2 visas are available to artists or entertainers, either individually or as part of a group, who come to the U.S. to perform under a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and one or more other countries. All essential support personnel are included. The applicant will need to prove the legitimacy of the program by presenting a formal, written exchange agreement. In addition, a labor union in the U.S. must have either been involved in the negotiation of the exchange or have agreed to it. The U.S. individual or group being exchanged must have skills and terms of employment comparable to the person or group coming to the United States.
The P-2 visa covers artists and entertainers, including individuals or groups, who seek to be admitted through a reciprocal exchange program between a foreign based and U.S. based organization, which are engaged in the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers. The P-2 visa enables an alien artist to come to U.S. temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country. An an alien, you must be an artist entering the United States through a government recognized reciprocal exchange program. In addition, you must possess skills comparable to those of the United States artists and entertainers taking part in the program outside the United States.
A P-2 visa shall be accorded to artists or entertainers, individually or as a group, who will be performing under a reciprocal exchange program which is between an organization or organizations in the United States, which may include a management organization, and an organization or organizations in one or more foreign states, and which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers, or groups of artists and entertainers.
The exchange of artists or entertainers shall be similar in terms of caliber of artists or entertainers, terms and conditions of employment, such as length of employment, and numbers of artists or entertainers involved in the exchange.
An alien who is an essential support person may be accorded P-2 visa based on a support relationship to a P-2 artist or entertainer under a reciprocal exchange program.
Arts includes fields of creative activity or endeavor such as, but not limited to, fine arts, visual arts, and performing arts.
2. The Evidentiary Requirements for P-2 Visa Petition Involving a Reciprocal Exchange Program
The P-2 visa is available to an artist or entertainer, either individually or as part of a group, who come to United States to perform a reciprocal exchange program between the United States and a foreign country. The essential support personnel can also be included. The P-2 applicant should prove a formal and written exchange agreement. Also, a labor union in the United States should either involve in the negotiation of the exchange or agree to it.
The individual or group being exchanged from United States should have skills and terms of employment comparable to the foreign person or group coming to the United States. In order for an alien to qualify for a P-2 Visa, a sponsoring labor organization in the United States or U.S. employer must file Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker. Also, a petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent.
A petition for P-2 classification shall be accompanied by:
• Written consultation by an appropriate labor union or organization in the United States;
• Copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the sponsoring U.S. organization and the organization in a foreign country which will receive the U.S. artist or entertainer;
• Statement from the P2 visa sponsoring organization of U.S. describing the reciprocal exchange of United States artists or entertainers;
• Evidence that the alien artist/entertainer and the U.S. artist or entertainer subject to the reciprocal exchange agreement are artists with comparable skills, and that the terms and conditions of employment are similar;
• Evidence that an appropriate labor union/organization in U.S. was involved in negotiating, or has concurred with, the reciprocal exchange of U.S. and foreign artists or entertainers.
If the events or performances will take place in multiple areas, an itinerary must be submitted. The itinerary must list the dates and locations of the events.
3. The Form I-129 Application and Required Documents
A performer should prove that he or she plays an integral part in the performance of the event. The defination is that P2 visa performer should perform "an integral part of the performance which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the services."
A U.S. employer or agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent may petition the USCIS by submitting the following documents:
1) USCIS Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker;
2) USCIS Form I-129 P Supplement, P classification Supplement to Form I-129;
3) Statement from the sponsoring U.S. organization describing the reciprocal exchange arrangement;
4) A copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the U.S. organization sponsoring you and the organization in your home country which will receive the U.S. artists or entertainers;
5) Copies of evidence describing your experience and skills, and those of the U.S. nationals visiting your home country;
6) An official affidavit that confirms the existence of the exchange program between the U.S. and your home country;
7) A contract and schedule of events describing terms and conditions of performance including pay, performance dates, and duration of contract;
8) No objection letters from the union, or an advisory opinion from a peer group;
9) Written contract between your group and the sponsoring employer or agent, or, if there is no written contract, a thorough description of your oral agreement;
10) An explanation of the event and its itinerary.
4. The Period of Stay and the Extension of Stay
Initial time of stay: time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year. Form I-129 is used to apply for a P-2 visa.
Extension of stay: increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance. Form I-129 is used to apply for a change of status, extension of stay or change of employment.
Change of employer: you may change employers, but only after your new employer has filed a new Form I-129 with USCIS requesting permission to employ you and extend your stay. You may not commence employment with the new employer until the Form I-129 has been approved.
Family of P-2 visa holders: your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 status. Your dependents may not engage in employment, but may attend school or college.
5. P-2 Visa for an Essential Support Alien
An essential support alien may be granted P-2 visa based on a support relationship with a P-2 entertainer or P-2 entertainment group. A petition for P-2 essential support personnel must be accompanied by:
A consultation from a labor organization with expertise in the area of the alien's skill;
A statement describing the alien's prior essentiality, critical skills, and experience with the principal alien; and
A copy of the written contract or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement between the alien and the employer.
6. How to Apply for a P-2 Visa at an American Consulate
To apply for the P-2 visa at an American Consulate, you should provide a copy of the Notice of Action, Form I-797, the approval notice forwarded to U.S. employer by USCIS when the petition is approved. The P-2 visa application must include the following documents:
a) DOS Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application;
b) A copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page;
c) Passport style color photograph showing full face without head covering against a light background. You may wear a headdress if required by a religious order of which you are a member, This can be uploaded at the time you complete the DS-160;
d) A letter from your U.S. employer detailing your position and a statement that you possess skills essential to the performance of the job offered.
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