The varying options of Visas in this service category will depend on your particular circumstances, the purpose of your entrance to the United States, and the professional activities that you will be engaging once you are in the country.
Here, I will present a brief overview of the US visa options for Athletes. But if there is a visa or an objective that you are seeking to obtain, and you don't see it listed here, by all means contact me for a legal consultation and I will most likely be able to handle and deliver your request.
The B-1 Business Visitor Visa allows for “business-related” travel to the U.S. In general, individuals are permitted to enter the United States as a B-1 Business Visitor if their visit will include business activities that are professional or commercial in nature. Examples of these activities include: contract negotiations, participation in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars or participating in short-term training. A visitor on the B-1 visa is generally permitted to stay in the U.S. for up to six months and may not engage in productive labor or employment in the United States.
The B-2 Visitor Visa allows for travel to the U.S. for “pleasure”. In general, individuals are permitted to enter the United States as a B-2 Visitor if their trip will include visiting family, relatives, friends, or acquaintances, or traveling throughout the United States. A visitor on the B-2 visa is generally permitted to stay in the U.S. for up to six months and may not engage in productive labor or employment in the United States.
The H-1B visa category allows athletes who are members of a “specialty occupation” to come to the U.S. to compete or participate in events. A specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the specific specialty.
This Visa category is oftentimes a suitable option for coaches and coaching staff.
The H-2B is suitable for athletes who may not qualify for the P-1 or O-1 visas. This Visa category is popular among minor league athletes because it allows athletes to come to the U.S. to compete or participate in events after his or her employer or sponsor shows that the need for the athlete is a one-time, seasonal, peak load, or intermittent need.
The P-1 visa category allows athletes who are Internationally Recognized to the come to the U.S. to participate in athletic events, competitions or performances. The P-1 visa is available to both individual athletes as well as sports teams.