P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program
The P-3 visa classification applies to artists who are are coming to US temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.
Congress did not define the term “culturally unique,” leaving construction of that term to the expertise of the agency charged with adjudicating P-3 non-immigrant visa petitions. By regulation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)), defined the term at 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(p)(3) (2012):“Culturally unique means a style of artistic expression, methodology, or medium which is unique to a particular country, nation, society, class, ethnicity, religion, tribe, or other group of persons.
For a P-3 visa, an artist can come either individually or as a group for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. Participation in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of an art form is required. The program may be of a commercial or noncommercial nature.
P-3 performers are not required to have been associated with their groups for any length of time.
Compensation or its amount is not a factor in P-3 cases. However, labor organizations may object to instances of low compensation and inadequate expense coverage in the course of their consultations.
How to demonstrate cultural uniqueness?
The petitioner must provide affidavits, testimonials, or letters from recognized experts respecting the authenticity of the individual’s or group’s skills. Such letters should, of course, establish the authors’ own credentials and the basis of the authors’ knowledge of the beneficiary(ies).
Alternatively, the petitioner may document that the alien’s or group’s performance is culturally unique by way of a broad range of possible evidence, including articles, reviews, other published materials, PR materials, prizes, ads, flyers about all of the upcoming events, contracts that detail the events, etc.
Letters from interested foreign governments (via their embassy cultural attachés or otherwise) can be most helpful;
The U.S. employer or sponsoring organization must submit Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker.
- Written consultation from an appropriate labor organization;
- A copy of the contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or the summary of the terms of an oral agreement between the petitioner and the beneficiary;
- An explanation of the nature of the event and travel itinerary;
- Affidavits, testimonials or letters from recognized experts attesting to the authenticity of your or your group’s skills in performing unique and traditional art forms
- documentation that your or your group’s performance is culturally unique as evidenced by reviews in newspapers, journals or other published materials.
- Any other Documentation that all of the performances or presentations will be culturally unique events.
Proving experts’ attestations in very important as it limits the chances of requests for more evidence or denials.