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P-2 Artists & Entertainers | Reciprocal Exchange Program

P-2 Artists & Entertainers | Reciprocal Exchange Program

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P-2 Artists & Entertainers | Reciprocal Exchange Program

Choosing the correct visa to apply for is one of the most important parts of making any journey to the United States. There are many different visas, and while a visitor might qualify for several different kinds at any given time, choosing the appropriate visa simplifies the process.

One U.S. visa especially for performers is the P-2 visa. It is appropriate for:

  • Artists
  • Musicians
  • Actors
  • Other performers

Understanding the P-2 Visa for Reciprocal Exchange

The P-2 visa is available only to performers who are visiting the U.S. temporarily, either alone or as part of a group, under a reciprocal exchange program. That is an artistic or entertainment program conducted by an organization in the U.S. in partnership with a foreign organization, where the performers from each country go to the other for a short period of time.

Eligibility consists of three parts:

  • A sponsoring U.S. organization or your U.S. employer must file Form I-129;
  • The government must approve the form in advance of the planned program;
  • The visiting performers should have skills comparable to the U.S. performers.

Achieving a P-2 visa can be complex because it requires the sponsoring organization to submit a great deal of information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This includes a detailed itinerary of the performances or events that you will participate in if multiple locations will be used. Once Form I-129 is approved, the foreign visitor(s) must still make an official visa petition at a U.S. embassy or consulate. When the visa itself is approved, the holder may travel freely throughout the country; his or her family members may qualify for a special P-4 visa.

What Rights Does the P-2 Visa Confer?

The P-2 visa allows you to remain in the United States for the time it takes you to complete an event, performance, or competition. There are numerous restrictions: For example, you generally cannot accept any form of outside employment or use public funds.

The initial P-2 visa can be valid for up to one year. Note, however, that applications are more likely to achieve approval for shorter visits. In the rare circumstance that a qualifying event lasts for longer than one year, the P-2  may be extended.

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