Saturday, February 9, 2019

USCIS Now Accepting Copies of Negative P Visa Consultations Directly from Labor Unions

Effective immediately, USCIS will begin accepting copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to a current or future P nonimmigrant visa petition. A consultation letter from a U.S. labor organization is generally required for petitions in the P visa classification, which covers athletes, artists, entertainers and their essential support personnel.

Typically, a petitioner submits the necessary P visa consultation with the petition, and that process requirement remains unchanged. After reported concerns from labor unions that some consultation letters, also known as advisory opinions, may have been falsified by petitioners and submitted to USCIS as no-objections or favorable consultations, when in fact they were negative, USCIS announced that it would begin accepting copies of negative consultation letters for O visa petitions. USCIS is now expanding this to P visa petitions, and labor unions are now able to send copies of negative O visa petition or P visa petition consultation letters directly to USCIS so that they can be compared to the consultation letter submitted by the O or P petitioner. 

P nonimmigrant visas are available for individuals coming to the U.S. temporarily to:

  • Perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance (P-1A nonimmigrant classification). P athletes include:
    • Internationally recognized athletes
    • Certain professional athletes, certain amateur athletes or coaches, and professional or amateur athletes performing in a theatrical ice skating production under the COMPETE Act
  • Perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in its discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time (P-1B nonimmigrant classification);
  • Perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country (P-2 nonimmigrant classification); or
  • Perform, teach, or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique (P-3 nonimmigrant classification).

Labor unions should send copies of negative P nonimmigrant consultation letters to Unions should only send copies of negative consultation letters for O and P petitions to USCIS at that email box. To ensure USCIS matches the consultation letters to the appropriate petitions, labor unions should include each beneficiary’s name and the last five digits of the beneficiary’s passport number on the consultation letters.

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