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P-2 visa available to foreign performers

Artists and entertainers from foreign countries may be eligible to live and work temporarily in Pennsylvania if they meet the requirements of the P-2 visa. The classification applies to individuals entering the United States temporarily for the purpose of performing, either individually or as a member of a group, as part of an exchange program between a United States organization and one in a foreign country.

The exchange program must be recognized by the U.S. government and the applicant must possess skills that are similar to those of the U.S. artists who are traveling to the foreign country to perform. Additionally, the sponsoring organization or employer must file a Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker, Form I-129, on the applicant's behalf.

A number of documents must be filed along with the Form I-129, including a copy of the artist exchange agreement, a statement describing the arrangement and evidence of the skill level of the entering artist. Evidence that a qualified labor organization negotiated or accepted the exchange agreement must be provided as well. Support personnel may also qualify for a P-2 visa if they provide services that a U.S. worker could not readily perform. Stagehands and trainers, for example, may meet the P-2 visa requirements even though they are not performers.

The spouse and minor children of P-2 visa holders may be able to enter the country by obtaining P-4 status. Dependents may attend a school or a college, but they are not allowed to work. Individuals who have questions about the P-2 visa may want to consult an attorney. Legal counsel with experience in immigration law can help evaluate the visa options available based on the facts of a particular case.

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