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P-1B Petitions: Group Performers

The P-1B classification is available to foreign-based entertainment groups, or to foreign individuals performing as a member of a U.S.-based entertainment group.  In the case of foreign-based groups, the group must consist of at least two beneficiaries entering solely to perform or entertain with the group. In general, the group (whether foreign-based or U.S.-based) must have been internationally recognized for a sustained period and 75 percent of its members must have been associated with the group for at least one year.  P-1B petitions may also be used for individual group members in cases where the alien is coming to the U.S. to join a foreign group previously approved for P-1B classification.

On December 31, 2011, USCIS revised its P-1B policies to permit eligibility for foreign individuals performing as a member of U.S.-based groups.  Previously, the P-1B was exclusively available to foreign-based groups of performers.  This development provides an opportunity for individuals to apply for a visa based on the reputation of the U.S.-based group with which the performances will take place.  Please note, however, that individuals coming to the United States on a P-1B visa will only be authorized for work that takes place as a member of the U.S.-based group.  For individual artists planning an itinerary of activities that includes performances as a member of a group, plus solo or other endeavors, the O-1B will be the appropriate visa classification.  The December 31, 2011 memo specifies:

P‑1B classification for entertainers applies to: (i) members of an internationally-recognized entertainment group coming to the United States; and (ii) an individual coming to the United States to join, as a member, an internationally-recognized group, which can be based in the United States or abroad.  A member of an internationally-recognized entertainment group may be granted P‑1B classification based on that relationship, but may not perform services separate and apart from the entertainment group.  The P‑1B nonimmigrant who is a member of an internationally recognized entertainment group must be coming to the United States to perform with the group as a unit.  In addition, the entertainment group must be internationally recognized as outstanding for a sustained and substantial period of time, and 75% of the group must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least one year.  The P‑1B nonimmigrant classification is not appropriate for an individual performing as a solo entertainer.