Coaches, Trainers, and Other Support Personnel

Each of the visa categories for athletes also has a designation for support personnel. The P-1S visa is for individuals who will “perform support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of services.” Assistant coaches, trainers, managers and related individuals are included in this category, as well as translators, scouts, and other specialized positions. One drawback to this classification is the initial authorized stay is a maximum of one year and he or she must apply for an extension in order to match the primary P-1 athlete’s length of stay, up to five years.

P-1S Requirements:

  • A consultation from an appropriate labor organization with expertise in the area of the support person’s skill
  • A statement describing the support person’s prior and current essentiality, critical skills and experience with the P-1 athlete (team)
  • A copy of a written contract between the employer and the support person or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the support person will be employed

O-2 Visa

Similar to the support category to the P visa, the O-2 visa allows individuals to accompany a primary O-1 athlete to assist in their performance. The O-2 visa holder must have “critical skills and experience” that cannot be readily performed by U.S. workers and should be filed in conjunction with the O-1 petition. These skills are typically demonstrated by expressing evidence of specific qualifications and sharing past experience with the O-1 athlete.

Family of O and P Visa Holders

An O-3 visa allows spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to also travel to the U.S. under the same admission guidelines and limitations that apply to the O-1 and O-2 nonimmigrant visa holders. The O-3 visa does not allow for work eligibility, but does allow individuals to study in a full or part time program.

In a similar manner, the P-4 visa also allows spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of P-1 visa holders to travel to the U.S. and study, but these dependents may not engage in employment.