Congress Approves Expansion of P-1 Visa for Athletes

December 12th, 2006

Congress has passed legislation called the COMPETE ACT to expand the scope of the P-1 nonimmigrant visa.  The COMPETE Act amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to broaden the scope of P-1 nonimmigrant visas to include: (1) a professional athlete; (2) a person who performs as an athlete, coach, or part of a team that is located in the United States and is a member of certain amateur foreign leagues or associations from which a significant number of individuals are drafted by major sports leagues or their minor league affiliates; and (3) a professional or amateur athlete who performs individually or as part of a group in a theatrical ice skating production coming to the United States in a specific ice skating production or tour. Currently P-1 visas are only available for athletes performing at an “internationally recognized level of performance.”