Approves Moving Minor League Athletes, Ice Show Performers for P Visa
In the final hours
of the 109th Congress, the House passed S.3821, a bill concerning H-2B
and P-1 athletes and entertainers that passed in the Senate a day
before. The President is expected to sign the legislation in the coming
days and the provisions will take effect immediately. The bill tracks
language included in S.2611, the comprehensive immigration reform bill
passed by the US Senate last May.
The legislation expands the P-1 visa category to include several new
types of athletes and entertainers:
• An individual athlete on an athletic team that is a member of an
association of 6 or more professional sports teams whose total combined
revenues exceed $10,000,000 per year, if the association governs the
conduct of its members and regulates the contests and exhibitions in
which its member teams regularly engage or any minor league team that is
affiliated with such an association (these are individuals described in
Section 204(i)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act).
• Individual coaches and athletes performing with teams in the US that
are part of an international league or association of fifteen or more
amateur sports teams if 1) the league is operating at the “highest
level of amateur performance” in the relevant foreign country, 2)
participating in that league renders the players ineligible to get a
scholarship to play at a collegiate level in the US and 3) a significant
number of the players in the league get drafted to play for major or
minor league teams in the US.
• Amateur and professional ice skaters who perform in theatrical ice
skating productions seeking to enter the
to skate in a competition or a theatrical production.
Significantly, none of these new categories require a demonstration of
performing at an “internationally recognized level of performance”
as is the case for P-1 athletes under the current law or as
“outstanding” athletes as required under the O-1 rules.
Minor league teams will benefit most significantly since they will no
longer need to rely on the H-2B category for its athletes. Coaches are
not mentioned in the new provisions but presumably can qualify as P
support personnel if there is a principle P applicant. The H-2B category
has been problematic in recent years because the category has quickly
filled its allotted quota.
Another major change is the fact that major league athletes will likely
be able to enter the
under the new provisions for teams in leagues exceeding $10,000,000 in
annual combined revenue. Simply documenting a contract to play on a
qualifying team should be enough without having to show the athlete is
performing at an internationally recognized level of performance as is
the case today.
The statute contains language excluding athletes from countries deemed
state sponsors of terrorism. That provision will mainly affect Cuban
athletes. These athletes can still apply for P-1s under the new
provisions, but need to get special clearance from the Department of
Homeland Security and State Department.
The new language will now allow for multiple athletes and performers to
be filed on a single I-129 petition instead of separate petitions.
Finally, athletes can still file in other visa categories even if they
are eligible under the new P-1 provisions.
following is the text of S. 3821:
To authorize certain athletes to be admitted temporarily into the
to compete or perform in an athletic league, competition, or
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America
in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as either the `Creating Opportunities for Minor
League Professionals, Entertainers, and Teams through Legal Entry Act of
2006' or the `COMPETE Act of 2006'.
SEC. 2. NONIMMIGRANT ALIEN STATUS FOR CERTAIN ATHLETES.
(a) In General- Section 214(c)(4)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality
Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(4)(A)) is amended by striking clauses (i) and (ii)
and inserting the following:
`(i)(I) performs as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or
team, at an internationally recognized level of performance;
`(II) is a professional athlete, as defined in section 204(i)(2);
`(III) performs as an athlete, or as a coach, as part of a team or
franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign
league or association of 15 or more amateur sports teams, if--
`(aa) the foreign league or association is the highest level of amateur
performance of that sport in the relevant foreign country;
`(bb) participation in such league or association renders players
ineligible, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, to earn a
scholarship in, or participate in, that sport at a college or university
in the United States under the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic
`(cc) a significant number of the individuals who play in such league or
association are drafted by a major sports league or a minor league
affiliate of such a sports league; or
`(IV) is a professional athlete or amateur athlete who performs
individually or as part of a group in a theatrical ice skating
`(ii) seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the
purpose of performing--
`(I) as such an athlete with respect to a specific athletic competition;
`(II) in the case of an individual described in clause (i)(IV), in a
specific theatrical ice skating production or tour.'.
(b) Limitation- Section 214(c)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act
(8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(4)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(F)(i) No nonimmigrant visa under section 101(a)(15)(P)(i)(a) shall be
issued to any alien who is a national of a country that is a state
sponsor of international terrorism unless the Secretary of State
determines, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and
the heads of other appropriate United States agencies, that such alien
does not pose a threat to the safety, national security, or national
interest of the United States. In making a determination under this
subparagraph, the Secretary of State shall apply standards developed by
the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland
Security and the heads of other appropriate
agencies, that are applicable to the nationals of such states.
`(ii) In this subparagraph, the term `state sponsor of international
terrorism' means any country the government of which has been determined
by the Secretary of State under any of the laws specified in clause
(iii) to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international
`(iii) The laws specified in this clause are the following:
`(I) Section 6(j)(1)(A) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50
U.S.C. App. 2405(j)(1)(A)) (or successor statute).
`(II) Section 40(d) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2780(d)).
`(III) Section 620A(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C.
(c) Petitions for Multiple Aliens- Section 214(c)(4) of the Immigration
and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(4)), as amended by subsection (b),
is further amended by adding at the end the following:
`(G) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall permit a petition under
this subsection to seek classification of more than 1 alien as a
nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(P)(i)(a).'.
(d) Relationship to Other Provisions of the Immigration and Nationality
Act- Section 214(c)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C.
1184(c)(4)), as amended by subsections (b) and (c), is further amended
by adding at the end the following:
`(H) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall permit an athlete, or the
employer of an athlete, to seek admission to the United States for such
athlete under a provision of this Act other than section 101(a)(15)(P)(i)
if the athlete is eligible under such other provision.'.
Passed the Senate December 6, 2006.
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