Amateur Athletes & Minor League Players: You May Be Eligible For A P-1 Visa Through The COMPETE ACT

It’s a common misconception that only top-tier athletes who are competitive on an international level are eligible for the P-1 visa. That is absolutely not the case. In 2006, the United States Congress passed the Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers, and Teams through legal Entry Act (COMPETE Act), which makes it possible for a larger variety of athletes to obtain the P-1 visa and participate in athletic competition in America for up to five years with possible extensions. The Act allows athletes who are not necessarily world stars or professional competitors to participate in minor leagues and other types of lower-level competitions.

 

Let’s take a closer look at who may qualify for the P-1 visa:

 

  • An athlete who competes on the international level – either as an individual or as part of a team.

  • An athlete who is employed by a sports association with six or more teams or with an annual revenue of over $10 million.

  • An athlete who is employed by a minor league team that is affiliated with one of the above sports associations.

  • An athlete or coach who is participating in a United States franchise that is part of an international sporting association of 15 or more amateur teams – if the team is performing on the highest level of amateur play.

  • An athlete or coach who is participating in a United States franchise that is part of an international sporting association of 15 or more amateur teams – if participation excludes the player from attending college or earning a scholarship.

  • An athlete or coach who is participating in a United States franchise that is part of an international sporting association of 15 or more amateur teams – if participation often leads to being drafted into a minor league or major league sports program in the U.S.

  • A professional ice skater or ice skating team who performs in exhibitions or tours in the United States.

 

Generally, athletes who would like to compete or perform in the United States during an extended period of time have a number of visa options, including the P visa, the O visa, and the B visa. Understanding which visa is right for you is vital to having the best experience possible for you, your family, and your career. At the Law Offices of Vaughan de Kirby, we can help you better understand your choices and navigate the visa process. Call our California P-1 visa attorneys today at 415-221-2345. 

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