Visa for a Mixed Martial Arts Coach

I am starting a mixed martial arts school in San Diego and would like to bring a several instructors here to teach. I have an individual from Brazil and another from Thailand. They’ve both won several tournaments in BJJ and Mui Thai and have coached fighters competing in both PRIDE and UFC. While my school isn’t quite ready to open, I do want to generate some publicity and advertise these two as instructors to build some business so I don’t have an empty building when we open. How can we bring these two to the US and how long will it take to get them here?

The first thought for these types of coaches would probably be a P3 visa since both martial arts are culturally unique to their respective countries. However USCIS, for reasons unknown, rarely approve P3 visas for marital arts instructors. The California Service Center recently denied a P3 visa for a Taekwondo instructor for a Korean national and even conceded that the sport was the national sport of Korea. Therefore, a decision must be made between a P1 visa and an O1 visa. In a previous Q&A, we discussed O1 v. P1 and concluded that the general rule is that O1 visas are for individuals and P1 visas are for groups. However, in this case, the P1 visa is more appropriate for each simply because USCIS has a history of approving P1 visas for martial arts coaches.

We can get the P1 petitions approved by USCIS in 15 days or less and schedule both of them for visa interviews shortly thereafter. They’ll be ready to enter as soon as you need them.

Is an O1 Visa or P1 Visa More Appropriate for a Rock Band?

Hi, we have a well known band in the UK and are looking to tour the US. I’ve spoken to several different lawyers and they are all giving me different advice. Can you tell me if we should be looking to get an O visa or P visa?

While it is technically possible for the lead in the band to procure an O1 visa and the rest to procure O2 visas, the simple rule is that the O is for individuals and the P is for groups. You would be much better off applying for the P visa.

P3 Visa Denial

I am the leader of a small band from the Dominican Republic that sings Perico ripiao. We applied for a P3 visa so we could perform at several locations in the US. Our case was denied by INS because they said our performances were not culturally unique. We received a notice that we could appeal but I don’t know if we should. Can you get this case approved for us?

Unfortunately, these types of decisions are becoming more and more common. There are certain visa classifications such as the P3 visa which USCIS, and some Service Centers in particular, feels are often abused. Although, I have not yet seen your denial notice, I am quite certain that this decision was made by the California Service Center.

Merengue tipico or Perico ripiao is certainly a culturally unique singing style which is common in the Dominican Republic. This type of case can easily be won on appeal. However, appealing this type of case is often more expensive than refiling, as appeals are generally more complicated than filing the first time and the processing times are generally longer. You may consider refiling but it is ultimately your decision.

Agents May Sponsor O and P Nonimmigrants Under Certain Circumstances

Under 8 CFR 214.2(o)(2)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2 (p)(2)(i), O and P petitions may only be filed by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S agent. Both the O and P regulations provide that if the beneficiary employee will work concurrently for more than one employer within the same time period, each employer must file a separate petition with the Service Center that has jurisdiction over the area where the alien will perform services, unless an “established agent” files the petition. See 8 CFR 214.2(o)(2)(iv)(B) and 8 CFR 214.2(p)(2)(iv)(B). A petition filed by an agent is subject to several conditions. A petition involving multiple employers may be filed by a person or company in business as an agent as the representative of both the employers and the beneficiary, if:

1.  The supporting documentation includes a complete itinerary of the event or events;

2.  The itinerary specifies the dates of each service or engagement, the names and addresses of the actual employers and the names and addresses of establishments, venues, or locations where the services will be performed;

3.  The contracts between the employers and beneficiary are submitted; and

4.  The agent explains the terms and conditions of the employment and provides any required documentation.