Sports & Athletes
Los Angeles Sports Immigration Lawyer
California Sports Immigration Law Firm
Immigration and professional sports are not something commonly discussed in one conversation when watching major sports events on television, but in reality, they are deeply connected fields. Without the ability to secure an athlete visa (athletics green card) or sport visa for their athletes, some of your favorite sports teams would be missing some of their best players. Even professional athletes need work visas to compete for their athletic teams or individually in the United States.
Some famous sports immigrants who have come to the United States, either on an immigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa, to train and compete include:
- David Beckham (England / MLS)
- Manu Ginobili (Argentina / NBA)
- Sidney Crosby (Canada / NHL)
- Kim Clijsters (Belgium / WTA Tennis)
- Wayne Gretzky (Canada / NHL)
- Yao Ming (China / NBA)
- Albert Puljos (Dominican Republic / MLB)
- Dirk Nowitzki (Germany / NBA)
- Steffi Graf (Germany / NBA)
- Manny Pacquiao (Philippines / Boxing)
- Yani Tseng (Taiwan / LPGA)
If you’re an elite athlete who has sustained national or international acclaim, and has participated in or won medals in events such as the Olympics, World Cup, World Championships, major tournaments, or any other major organized sporting event, then you may qualify for an EB1 green card, P1 visa, or O1-A visa based on your accomplishments as a senior or adult athlete.
USCIS generally will not consider any prizes or awards won as a student, youth, or junior level of competition. Their primary consideration of prizes or awards remains on senior or adult level competition. Our athlete visa lawyer will take a look at all the specific facts for your case and determine what sports visa is available to you.
Extraordinary Ability EB1 Green Card for Athletes
Nationally or internationally recognized athletes who are at the top of their sport may qualify for a professional athlete visa to live, train, and compete in the USA as an alien of extraordinary ability. No job offer is required as part of the EB1 petition process.
The majority of athletes who qualify are able to prove their extraordinary ability through:
- Prizes or awards they have won in major national or international competitions
- Articles in major newspapers or magazines about their abilities and achievements
- Documentation of their membership in associations which demand outstanding achievement of their members, such as their club team or their national team
- Documentation of their leading or critical role in a distinguished organization, such as their club team or national team, and how their individual abilities played a leading or critical role in the team’s success
- Documentation of their receipt of high compensation as compared to other players in their sport
Our experienced sports immigration lawyer will be able to best determine the merits of your EB1 green card case as a top athlete.
Contact Our Best EB1 Green Card Attorney Now
Every EB1 athlete case varies and no two cases are alike. To determine your eligibility for an EB1 green card as a professional athlete of extraordinary ability, consult with an experienced sports immigration lawyer.
O1 Athlete Visa USA
The O1 visa for professional athletes is generally determined on the same basis as the EB1 visa, however, the O1 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa. Generally, USCIS is more lenient in granting O1 visas as opposed to EB1 visas which are immigrant visas that allow you to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
While it may be easier to obtain an O1 visa versus an EB1 visa, the standard is still quite high and is reserved for the best athletes in the world. You have to be a top ranked athlete in your home country or internationally. If you have won a major award, such as an Olympic medal, that alone may qualify you.
The O1 athlete visa still has the general requirements of needing a U.S. sponsor/agent to petition on your behalf, needing specific competition(s) or event(s) on your itinerary, and a consultation letter from the appropriate peer group or labor union.
Our best extraordinary ability lawyer will help you decide the best immigration route for you to come train and compete in the United States.
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P1 Athlete Visa USA
The P-1A classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to the United States solely for the purpose of performing at a specific athletic competition as:
- An individual athlete at an internationally recognized level of performance;
- Part of a group or team at an internationally recognized level of performance;
- A professional athlete; or
- An amateur athlete or coach, who is part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association that meets certain requirements as described below.
The P-1A classification also applies to professional or amateur athletes coming temporarily to the United States solely to perform in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour, individually or as part of a group.
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If you’re looking to get a P-1 visa for athletes then be sure to reach out to our best P-1 visa immigration lawyer now.