Complete Guide to the P-2 Visa

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • A P2 Visa is a travel document for artists and entertainment groups in exchange programs with the U.S.
  • Allows performance in the U.S. for a specific event or competition, with a maximum stay of one year.
  • Eligibility requires a recognized reciprocal exchange program, comparable skills, and involvement of a labor organization.
  • Application process involves completing Form I-129 and providing supporting documents. Filing fee is $460, and processing time can take up to 90 days.

The P2 Visa is a very useful document for individuals who are entertainers or artists and want to show off their performance abroad. Not only is this visa granting them access to the United States, but it also allows their support personnel to enter the country so they can set up everything for a successful performance.

What exactly is the P2 Visa though and how can you apply for one? If you want to travel to the U.S. for performance purposes, read this to find out what documents you need and how to apply.

What Is a P2 Visa?

A P2 Visa is a type of travel document issued to artists and entertainment groups, as well as their personnel. The visa allows them to perform in the United States under an exchange program between the other country and the U.S.

Individuals who come to the U.S. under this visa will stay in the U.S. for as long as necessary to complete their performance, competition, or event but not longer than one year. However, one can extend their stay for periods of up to one year if they still need time to complete an event.

The P2 Visa is different from the P1 Visa, as the latter is meant for professional and internationally recognized athletes or athletic teams who wish to participate in U.S. competitions. It is also separate from the P3 Visa, which is issued to people who come temporarily to the States to perform, coach, or teach as an entertainer or artist, either alone or as part of a certain group.

Benefits of a P2 Visa

So, what are the benefits of a P2 Visa and why should you apply for one if you want to perform in the U.S.?

Well, if you have a valid visa, you can travel in and out of the United States without problems. You can travel freely and fulfill all your artistic desires.

On top of that, as long as you can maintain your P2 status, even your dependents can stay with you. They can attend school in the meantime, which is a great advantage.

Who Is Eligible for a P2 Visa?

Who can obtain a P2 Visa? One must follow certain requirements to be eligible for this type of visa. It is a travel document suitable for:

  • Entertainment bands or troupes that are coming to the U.S. through a reciprocal exchange program recognized by the government
  • Artists that want to enter the United States through a reciprocal exchange program recognized by the government
  • The P2 Visa holders’ support personnel
  • U.S. companies and agents to bring entertainers and artists to a tour in the U.S. under reciprocal exchange programs or to participate in certain events.

That being said, in order to qualify for the P2 visa, you must be an artist or entertainer who wishes to come to the States to perform either individually or as part of a group, as well as under a particular exchange program with an organization based in the U.S. Therefore, to qualify, you must be able to prove that:

  • There is a real exchange program between the organization from the U.S. and the organization from the other country.
  • You are someone with a lot of experience and have great skills that are comparable to the ones of U.S. artists and entertainers in the exchange program.
  • The individuals who are members of the exchange program are all of an equal caliber and will work in the same conditions for very similar periods.
  • To negotiate the reciprocal exchange program, there is an appropriate labor organization taking part in this.

As mentioned, the P2 Visa is also available for essential support persons of the P2 visa owner. So, if you are part of the support personnel of the artist, you will have to prove that:

  • You have the right knowledge, experience, and qualifications to be able to offer entertainers and artists support services.
  • You are playing an important part in the P2 entertainer’s or artist’s performance because you offer support services that a U.S. worker would not be able to offer, and your services are essential for a successful performance.

How to Apply for a P2 Visa

In order to apply for the visa, your agent, employer or sponsor must go through a few steps. Here is what they have to do:

  1. Read the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker instructions.
  2. Then, complete the form and sign it. Make sure there are no mistakes or incomplete information.
  3. Pay the filing fee if it is applicable.
  4. Bring all the necessary supporting documentation and evidence.

Now, you may be wondering how to know if USCIS has received your application.

Once the application is filed, you can open a USCIS online account and keep up with the case. You can get status updates about it so you know how close you are to obtaining the travel document.

After the application, the sponsor, agent or employer will also get a few things, including a biometric services notice if applicable, a receipt confirming that the petition was received, a notice of the USCIS decision, and a notice to appear for an interview if necessary.

P2 Visa Required Documents

In order to apply for a P2 visa, you must provide specific documents. One of the documents you must provide is Form I-129. Along with this form, you should also bring:

  • A copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the organization(s) from the foreign country and the sponsoring U.S. organization(s) that will receive the entertainer or artist.
  • A written consultation by appropriate labor organizations.
  • Proof that you and the entertainer or artist in the exchange agreement are artists who have good, comparable skills and also that there is a similarity in the employment terms and conditions.
  • Statement from the organization that acts as a sponsor that describes the reciprocal exchange of entertainers or artists from the U.S. as it relates to the petition for which classification is needed.
  • Proof that there was an appropriate U.S. labor organization involved in negotiating the reciprocal exchange or has concurred with the exchange between foreign and U.S. entertainers or artists.

Bear in mind that an itinerary may also be necessary if the performances or events will unfold in more than one area.

P2 Visa Cost

If you want to apply for a P2 Visa, you will also have to pay a fee. The filing fee is $460. There is no separate biometrics fee, so the filing fee is the only cost you will have to deal with.

P2 Visa Processing Time

The processing time is not that long, especially if you provide all the necessary documentation and the process is a smooth one. Usually, it can take up to 90 days with the regular processing. If you need to go before a specific date, you must file as soon as possible.

Read More

Final Thoughts

Artists or entertainers who wish to come to the U.S. to perform can obtain a P2 visa if they meet the requirements and bring all the documentation. Make sure to have everything ready so you can have a process free of issues.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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