The most appropriate visa for a person who performs as an artist
or entertainer, in an individual capacity or as part of a group
where such a person is an integral part of the performance and is
planning to enter the United States temporarily and solely to
perform, teach or coach in a program that is culturally unique
is referred to as the "P-3" visa.
It is temporary in that it is only available for the period of time in
which the beneficiary or beneficiaries will be actively engaged in
It is not the appropriate visa for permanent status. That would
require filing for a "green card" or lawful permanent residence.
However, due to processing delays and possible quotas, the
earliest a green card could be obtained would be about one to
The P-3 visa is filed by a sponsoring organization or U.S.
employer for foreign persons who wish to perform, teach or coach
in a commercial or noncommercial program that is "culturally
unique." A culturally unique program is one which the:
(1) artist or entertainer has achieved excellence in developing,
interpreting, representing, coaching or teaching a unique or
traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical or artistic
(2) the artist or entertainer is coming to the U.S. to promote and
facilitate that art form.
TWO MAJOR REQUIREMENTS:
First, it must be demonstrated that the persons have achieved
excellence in their field; AND
Second, the artist's trip is for the sole purpose of promoting and
facilitating the art form.
These requirements seem fairly straightforward. However, there is
documentation that is required to substantiate the claims that the
person is acting in the context of a culturally unique program. The
necessary documents must establish the following:
(1). The person/s have been involved in a culturally unique
program for a substantial period.
(2). The person or group has achieved national or
international recognition or acclaim.
(3). The person/s or group/s skills are authentic and
excellent as attested through letters, expert opinions or
(4). The majority of the performances will be culturally
It is also necessary to note that if there exists more than one
geographic area in which the Beneficiary will perform, there must
be a submission of the itinerary. If the agent of the group is the
Petitioner, there must be submission of the itinerary and the
The P-3 visa is not as common in comparison to the many
employment based / nonimmigrant visas in the United States.
There is a burden to prove that the performers are highly
respected and well-known in their field of art. It is also necessary
to prove that the artist or troupe will be working within the context
of a culturally unique program.
BOGLE & CHANG, LLC
Copyright © 2010 Bogle & Chang, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
P3 Work Visas: Artists, Musicians, Entertainers of Culturally Unique Groups