Dec 9 2006
Congress Approves Act That Expands the P-1 Visa for Professional Athletes
Congress today passed the Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers, and Teams through Legal Entry (COMPETE) Act of 2006, which had been approved by the Senate on December 6. This bill will expand the P-1 Nonimmigrant Visa to include additional categories of athletes wishing to perform or compete in the United States.
The Act will now include the following categories of potential international visitors:
(1) professional athletes;
(2) athletes, coaches or parts of professional teams that are located in the U.S.; these individuals must also be members of certain amateur foreign leagues or associations from which a significant amount of athletes are drafted by major league sports teams or their minor league affiliates; and
(3) professional or amateur athletes who perform individually or as part of a group in theatrical ice skating productions that are coming to the U.S. as part of specific ice skating productions or tours.
Prior to the approval of this revised act, P-1 Visas were only limited to athletes who performed at an internationally recognized level of performance. The new revision will open access to a number of professional athletes and their coaches and will provide a more accessible environment for international competition.