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Sports Visa Attorneys in Florida & New York

For Guidance in Sports Immigration Matters, Call (407) 269-8774.

Do professional athletes need work visas? Yes, in fact, amateur and professional athletes apply for sports visas every year to train and compete in the United States. They are often accompanied by coaches, family members, and other support personnel who encourage their ambitions and aid them in achieving success.

Before completing your travel plans, it’s important to discuss your specific situation with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. At the Sekou Clarke Law Group, our Florida & New York sports visa attorneys can help athletes and their support teams obtain their immigration goals.

We represent the following clients:

  • Professional athletes
  • Amateur athletes
  • Athletes transitioning to collegiate level
  • Coaches and support personal
  • Parents of athletes

Our legal team understands that athletes face many challenges in their pursuit of gold and glory. Oftentimes, professional sports organizations make sudden mid-season changes or announce special events that necessitate immediate travel and legal assistance. During your consultation, we can review your circumstances, evaluate any potential complications, and explain your general legal options under U.S. visa laws. You can even rely on our team of problem-solvers to help you extend or change the status of your visa.

Our firm is led by an immigrant with a comprehensive understanding of the sports visa process. Complete an online form or call our Florida & New York sports immigration attorneys at (407) 269-8774 to explore your options. We speak English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Which Sports Visa Is Right for You?

The United States immigration system is incredibly difficult to navigate without experienced legal representation. This is particularly true for athletes and their support personnel who have different visa options depending on their needs.

Temporary Visas

  • P-1A Visa: Usually the easiest and most appropriate choice for athletes who are coming into the country temporarily. However, it is limited to individuals who compete at an internationally recognized level and plan to earn income outside of prize money. The visa application (Form I-129 for Nonimmigrant Worker) must be sponsored by an employer or agent. This visa option can last up to 5 years and is renewable.
  • B-1 Visitor Visa:
    • Professional athletes can participate in competitions by via the B-1 visitor visa, however they cannot live in the U.S. full time or seek employment within the country.
    • Most amateur athletes can compete or temporarily train as “visitors” to the United States. They can also participate in the visa waiver program and stay for up to 90 days without a visa. If athletes can’t obtain this waiver, they must apply for a B-1 visitor visa, which allows them to stay in the country for 180 days.
  • O-1 Visa: Reserved for athletes who have earned extraordinary achievements in their chosen fields. This visa is similar to a green card and, consequently, is extremely difficult to obtain. If awarded, the O-1 visa can last up to 3 years.

Temporary Visas for Amateur Athletes Staying Over 6 Months

  • F-1 Student Visa: This visa is for athletes under the age of 18 who wish to participate in a long-term sports training program in the United States. These athletes are required to attend private schools while they are training. This visa is not available for athletes who receive home schooling or take online classes. The school needs to issue an I-20 immigration form for the student to obtain an F-1 visa.
  • P-1 Visa: It’s extremely rare, but some amateur athletes can be considered eligible for a P-1 visa. However, to qualify, an athlete needs to demonstrate remarkable international achievements in their chosen field. An amateur athlete must also have a sponsor in the U.S. who is willing to file the petition for the athlete.

Permanent Visas

  • EB-1 Visa: This is also known as the “Employment-Based Extraordinary Ability Green Card.” This is reserved for immigrants with exceptional athletic achievements. An athlete can apply for this visa without the aid of an employer. If you’re interested in applying for a EB-1 visa, you’re going to need the assistance of a skilled attorney.

Visa Options for Coaches & Support Personnel

Any member of an athlete’s essential support group can apply for a P1-S visa. Per the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), applicants must be integral to their athlete’s performance and need to provide specific services that a U.S. worker cannot deliver. An athlete’s employer needs to file a Form I-129 on behalf of the applicant. This visa allows support personnel to stay in the country for up to 1 year.

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