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P-1 and P-1S Process and In-take Form
The P-1 and P-1S Visa can be broadly applied to various classes of essential staff persons for esports athletes, including esports coaches, managers, and trainers, however the actual application can be quite nuanced. The application must include carefully prepared explanation concerning the terms of the employment opportunity, complete with supporting documents in order to be approved. Our attorneys are savvy to include specific information related to the esports industry which can include employment contracts, tournament agreements, agency contracts, obtaining the appropriate consultation letters, and circumstances that are unique to the esports industry. Below you will find a breakdown of each step of the application process along with a questionnaire to request a consultation.
#1 Sponsor or Agent in the United States
The P-1 Visa must begin with a Petitioner in the United States that wishes to engage the coach, manager, or trainer for either competition, training, or for management purposes. The petitioner must be one of the following:
1. A U.S. Employer (Promotion or Training Center) - Requires written contract with dates and wages
2. U.S. Sponsoring Organization (A Major Sports League) - Requires written contract with dates and wages
3. U.S. Agent/Manager (A U.S. Person representing a fighter) - Requires written contract with dates, training schedule, possible performance opportunities, payment arrangements, hours of working, and fringe benefits
4. Foreign Employer through a U.S. Agent - Same as 3. U.S. Agent/Manager but the foreign employer uses a U.S. person as a conduit.
5. Support Staff - P-1S: Essential support personnel cannot be included on the P-1 petition filed for principal coaches, managers, and trainers or members of an athletic team. A separate petition needs to be filed for such qualified essential support personnel seeking a P-1 Essential Support Personnel visa classification
#2 International Recognition
Each individual esports coach, manager, or trainer must be an internationally recognized coach, manager, or trainer based on his or her own reputation and achievements as an individual. He or she must demonstrate a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country. For an esports coach, manager, or trainer, this includes official certifications, success of their esports athletes including any titles or championships won, media coverage, expert opinions from industry insiders.
#3 Written Consultation Letter from Labor Union or Regulatory Body
With few exceptions, it is mandatory to submit a written consultation from an appropriate labor organization along with the P-1 or P-1S Petition. A written consultation must come from an authorized official labor organization that represents the coach, manager, or trainer's peers in the United States. The written consultation must either be an advisory opinion that the coach, manager, or trainer's participation does not affect the local workforce or that the organization has no objection to the the approval of the P-1 or P-1S visa petition. It is on the burden of the petitioner to establish that an appropriate labor organization does not exist, if that is the case.
#4 Proof of Foreign Residence
Each esports coach, manager, or trainer and support personnel must submit evidence that shows they have a permanent residence in a foreign country and no intention of abandoning that residence. Supporting evidence includes home ownership or rental agreements, utility and other bills, ownership of valuable assets, dependents, and other ties to the foreign country.
#5 Admission into the United States
If the esports coach, manager, or trainer is already in the U.S. on a visa, for example a B-1 Visitor visa, then the petitioner may remain in the U.S. while the P petition is being adjudicated. If the esports coach, manager, or trainer is not in the U.S. while the P petition is being adjudicated, then the application will be processed by an Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S., the esports coach, manager, or trainer will have to retrieve the visa from the Embassy or Consulate before coming to the U.S.
#6 P-4 Visas for Spouses and Children
The P-4 Visa is available to the spouse and unmarried children under 21 of both P-1 coaches, managers, and trainers and P-1S Support Personnel. The P-4 Visa is usually limited to the same period of time as the corresponding P-1 or P-1S application. The P-4 Support Personnel are not permitted to accept payment but may attend school or college.
#5 Extensions and Changes
The original P-1S petition can be authorized for 1 year as long as the business or activity that supports the P-1 petition continues. The P-1S petition for supporting personnel can be authorized for up to 1 year. After one year, the visa may be extended in increments of one year for up to 10 years. After, completing an extension period for the visa, the coach, manager, or trainer or support personnel must return home and obtain the next visa at the consular office.
The P-1 coach, manager, or trainer is only supposed to work for the entity that sponsored the P-1 visa petition. In certain circumstances such as a tournament, the P-1 coach, manager, or trainer may not have to obtain an additional P-1. It is best to consult with an attorney before making decision to compete for another organization while sponsored for a P-1 with another entity such as a manager. If, P-1 makes a substantial change in employment, it is necessary to file a new petition for the new employment arrangement.
Note: In the case of professional P-1 esports athletes who are traded from one organization to another, employment authorization for the player will automatically continue for a period of 30 days after acquisition by the new organization, within which time the new organization is expected to file a new P-1 petition. If the new petition is not filed within 30 days, employment authorization will cease. If the new petition is filed within 30 days, the professional coach, manager, or trainer shall be deemed to be in valid P-1 status, and employment shall continue to be authorized, until the petition is adjudicated. If the new petition is denied, employment authorization will cease.
#6 Government Fees and Application Timing.
The typical P-1 Visa application takes about a month to be processed and costs $460 in Government fees.
There is premium processing available for the P-1 Visa. Premium processing costs an additional $1410 and requires the USCIS to make a decision within 15 business days.