Overview of the P-2 Visa

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Continuing our discussion of the “P” visa classifications, we now examine the P-2 visa. If you’ve missed our previous discussion on the P-1 visa, you can find it here. The P-2 visa is the second of three P visa classifications, along with the aforementioned P-1, and the P-3.

P-2 Visa

A P-2 Visa is designated for entertainers and artists visiting the U.S. as part of a reciprocal exchange program.

Unlike the P-1 visa designation, the entertainer or artist does not have to have achieved the same lofty levels of prominence and international acclaim in their particular entertainment endeavor.

Rather, the foreign entertainers/artists must exhibit a similar level of skill, experience, and aptitude as their United States counterparts, i.e. the U.S. contingent traveling to the foreign country for a similar performance. This standard applies both to individual performers and entertainment groups/troupes.

Additionally, the P-2 visa petition must be filed either a U.S. employer, the U.S. organization that orchestrated and negotiated the exchange, or some other recognized sponsoring organization.

The reciprocal nature of the exchange is key in regards to the P-2 visa. In addition to possessing similar skills, the employment for both the U.S. contingent and the foreign group must be for similar periods of time, and the number of individuals participating in the entertainment endeavor should be approximately the same.

Examples of Reciprocal Agreements

The following are three examples of standard types of P-2 reciprocal agreements:

  1. An agreement between the American Federation of Musicians (Canada) and the American Federation of Musicians (U.S)
  2. An agreement between the Actor’s Equity Association (U.S) and the Canadian Actor’s Equity Association
  3. An agreement between the Actor’s Equity Association and the British Actors’ Equity Association

Although support personnel are allowed P-2 visa status as well, they must file a separate petition from the main performers. All petitions are valid for the length of time needed to complete the event, performance, or activity, as long as the duration does not exceed one year.

Additional Notes

  • Applicants (petitioners) must verify the validity of the exchange program by providing a formal exchange agreement in writing to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).This verification will include a detailed description the entire exchange program, including artists, entertainers, and performers involved. The foreign organization participating in the exchange will be required to provide verification documentation as well.
  • There must be a U.S. labor union involved in the agreement or negotiation of the exchange program.

For more information on the P-2 Visa, contact Lightman Law Firm at (212) 643-0985 or submit a consultation request online

Lightman Law Firm was recently honored as New York’s 2014 Immigration Law Firm of the Year by Acquisition International. Additionally, founding attorney, Douglas Lightman, was named a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers.com. Lightman Law Firm also carries a 4.9 rating on Google Reviews.