Tien Law Firm’s immigration lawyers can help international athletes, coaches, athletic support personnel and other sports industry professionals with navigating immigration law and and travel visas you need to get into a game in the U.S. And when it comes time seek a permanent residence in the U.S., we can develop a strategy to help you score a green card so you can pursue your American dreams.
Tien Law Firm’s immigration attorneys can assist athletes, coaches, athletic support personnel and other sports industry professionals in a wide variety of sports, including:
- Soccer (Football)
- eSports, including eMLS (FIFA) and NBA 2K League
- Auto Racing
- Equestrian Sports
- MMA and other Martial Arts
B-1 Visas for Athletes, Coaches and Sports Professionals
Tien Law Firm’s immigration attorneys can assist Athletes, Coaches and Sports Professionals determine which sports-related activities can be performed in the US under the B-1 business visitor category.
P-1 Visas for Internationally Recognized Athletes, Coaches and Support Personnel
The P-1 visas can be used for individuals who are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
For individual athletes, you must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.
For teams, your team must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.
Essential Support Personnel, such a coaches or trainers, who are an integral part of the performance of a P-1 athlete/team and who perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker, are eligible for P-1S classification.
O-1 Visas for Athletes and Coaches
The O-1 visa is a temporary (nonimmigrant) work visa available for individuals who have demonstrated “extraordinary ability” in the athletics field.
To qualify for an O-1A visa, you must prove that you are among the top of your athletic field, either by receiving a major, internationally recognized award (such as an Olympic Medal), or, as is the case for most people, by providing a sufficient amount of compelling documentation meeting at least 3 of the following 8 criteria:
- Awards: Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in an athletic field.
- Memberships: Membership in athletic associations in your sport that require outstanding achievements of their members.
- Published Articles Written by Others About Your Work: Published material in professional or major trade publication or in the major media about you and relating to your athletic accomplishments.
- Peer Review Activities: Participation as a judge (individually or as a part of a panel) of the work of others in your athletic field.
- Original Contributions: Evidence of your original contributions of major significance in your athletic field.
- Published Scholarly Articles Written by You: Authorship of scholarly articles in your athletic field, in professional journals or other major media.
- Critical Capacity: Performance in a critical or essential capacity for sports organizations with distinguished reputations.
- Comparatively High Salary: Evidence that you have commanded a high salary or other significantly high compensation for services in relation to others in your athletic field.
If the above criteria do not readily apply to your occupation, comparable evidence may be submitted to establish your O-1 visa eligibility.
H-2B Visas for Athletes and Coaches
Athletes who cannot fulfill the more strict requirements for an O or P visa may qualify for an H-2B visa for temporary, seasonal employment in the U.S. Seasonal coaches may also qualify for an H-2B visa.
Other Work Visas for Sports Professionals
H-1B Visas: The H-1B category can be used for sports industry professionals working in a position that requires a Bachelor’s Degree as a minimum requirement for the occupation.
L-1 Visas: The L-1 intracompoany transfer category can be used for executive and managerial employees (L-1A) and specialized knowledge employees (L-1B) of a foreign sports entity who are coming to work for a qualifying U.S. branch office of the entity.
E-2 Visas: E-2 investor visas can be used by individuals who have made a qualifying investment to launch a new sports business in the U.S. or purchase an existing sports business (including purchasing a sports team).
Green Cards for Athletes, Coaches and Sports Professionals
EB-1A: For individuals who meet the extraordinary ability criteria.
EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW): For individuals who can demonstrate that their athletic achievements are worthy of substantial merit and national importance.
EB-2/EB-3 PERM: Individuals who do not meet the requirements for EB-1A or EB-2/NIW, can apply under the standard EB-2 or EB-3 classifications, but only after successfully completing the PERM labor certification process.