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. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently said that effective February 8, 2019, the agency will accept copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to current or future P nonimmigrant visa petitions.
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 can send copies of negative O 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). 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);
- 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); 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).
USCIS said labor unions should send copies of negative P nonimmigrant consultation letters to UnionConsultationMailbox@uscis.dhs.gov. Unions should only send copies of negative consultation letters for O and P petitions to that emailbox. 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.