The P-3 Visa
A “P” visa designation is reserved for certain types of entertainers and artists; there are three classifications: P-1, P-2, and P-3.
The P-3 visa is a classification for artists or entertainers that will perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique, either as individuals or as part of a group. The other visa that is commonly used by artists and entertainers is the O-1 visa.
The individual’s or group’s purpose must be to either develop, interpret, coach or teach a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic presentation or performance.
Furthermore, culturally unique has been understood as varied methods of artistic expression which is unique to a particular country, nation, ethnicity, tribe, or other groups of persons. The purpose of the visa is so that the artist or group of artists can come to the US for a specific program, or event for the development of their art form and further understanding of their art.
The P-3 visa duration is the time needed to complete the beneficiary’s specific presentation or performance, for as long as up to one year.
P-3 visa holders can request extensions of stay of increments of up to one year in order to complete the specific culturally unique event or performance.
Who must file?
An employer, a sponsoring organization or agent must file on behalf of the artist or group.
A consultation or written advisory opinion is required from a labor union before the P-3 visa petition may be adjudicated, to verify that the artist or group meets the standard of “culturally unique.”
A labor consultation needs to be from a union with expertise in the field or if a union has a collective bargaining agreement in the field, then that is the appropriate union with which to consult. If there is no labor union in the field, the letter can come from an individual with expertise in the foreign national’s field or a “peer group” with a strong focus on the field.
A contract between the sponsoring employer (petitioner) and artist (beneficiary) must exist and be included in the filing. An itinerary describing and explaining in detail the nature of the events the beneficiary will perform must be also included as well including dates and locations of events or performances.
The bulk of the evidence will be certifying the authenticity of the artist’s work in a line of work that is culturally unique and that all the services performed in the United States will be as well. The evidence for the certification that performances or presentations in the US will be culturally unique is relatively open.
However, to authenticate the credibility of an artist’s role in culturally unique work there is some guidance (and therefore similar evidence could be presented for the former requirement). Evidence verifying the authenticity of the beneficiary’s role in culturally unique work can be from affidavits, and letters from experts in the field about beneficiary’s authenticity and credentials.
Another way to verify this is through press, such as newspapers, journals and other published material asserting the beneficiary’s performances or presentations are involved in a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic presentation or performance.
Dependents of P-3 visa holders can obtain P-4 visa status, which does not grant them work authorization but allows them to study in the US.