Sport Visas



International athletes and sports professionals frequently travel to the U.S. to compete. A variety of visa types, each corresponding to different circumstances, allow athletes to enter the country.

If you are an athlete, coach, or a representative of an athletic organization and you need to secure a sports visa, we can help. We have extensive experience handling a variety of scenarios, and can offer support for all types of international competitors seeking to obtain temporary legal status in the U.S.

O-1 & P-1 Visas for Athletes

The O-1 visa is for individuals with “extraordinary ability” in certain fields, including athletics. An athlete is considered to have “extraordinary ability” if they have gained national or international fame. A coach, trainer, or manager may also qualify for an O-2 visa for travel to the U.S.

The P-1 visa is appropriate for professional athletes and sports teams who need to travel together to compete in a U.S.-based competition. In order to qualify for a P-1 visa, athletes must be traveling to an internationally recognized event. Essential support personnel such as coaches, scouts, trainers, or other team officials may also be eligible for a visa.

B-1 Business Visitor Visa

Some athletes may qualify for a B-1 business-related visa, which are usually meant for those traveling to the U.S. for strictly professional purposes. The main difference between a B-1 and P-1 visa is that a B-1 visa does not allow an athlete to receive a salary in the U.S., except for prize or award money. This visa type is also available to amateur hockey players traveling to the U.S. for tryouts.

EB-1C Employment-Based Immigrant Visa

The EB-1C visa, otherwise known as “Employment-Based Extraordinary Ability Green Card,” is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Coaches and athletes must prove they have achieved international recognition in their field, showing gold medals, or other international awards or accolades.

Focus on the competition — let us handle the rest. The attorneys at Gardner Gordon are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar Association, and the North Carolina State Bar.

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Case Results

Results That Speak for Themselves
  • Approved for Adjustment of Status
  • Approved Green Card
  • Filed I-918 U-Visa Petition
  • Received Certificate of Citizenship
  • Released from ICE / Pending Work Permit
  • Renew Existing I-765 While Pending VAWA & I-48
  • Secured a New P1 Visa
  • Secured Green Cards
  • Spouse’s Green Card Granted
  • Waiver Approved