Visas for Sports Agents & Professionals
Generally, business professionals in the sports industry have three visa options: the P-1S, the E-1, and the B-1/B-2.
Here is a brief overview of each:
- P-1S (for essential support and business staff). These visas are much more robust than B visitor visas. While a United States-based sponsor must petition for the P-1S visa, there is no need for the sponsor to have a contractual relationship with the P-1S visa holder. P-1S visas typically have a validity date of one year and can be renewed for up to 10 years.
- E-1 (treaty trader visas). This is an appropriate option for businesspersons of select countries who do most of their business in the United States. Applicants must be engaged in at least 51% of their imports, exports, or services with the United States. The E-1 visa can be a durable immigration option for foreign nationals who qualify, such as agents and managers who have athletes competing regularly in the United States. E-1 visas are typically issued for two-year stays but are eligible for unlimited extensions.
- B-1/B-2 (visitor visas). These are best for support staff and agents who are not compensated by the sponsor. For example, in boxing, the cornermen of fighters typically arrive on B visitor visas because they are not compensated directly by the promoter. However, B visas are becoming increasingly difficult to get for those who regularly visit the United States. Coaches, trainers, and agents, for example, may have an easier time obtaining P-1S visas.
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