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B-1 Visa for Athletes

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The B-1 visa for athletes is a visitor visa that makes them eligible for business-related travel to the United States. This option is usually applicable to professional athletes, such as martial artists (Brazilian jiujitsu, wrestlers, etc), golfers and tennis players, who don’t receive any salary or compensation apart from the prize money they will receive from tournaments or sporting events. 

This visa allows them to conduct business activities for professional or commercial purposes such as contract negotiations, short-term training participation, or participating in professional or business conferences or conventions.

Applicants with a B-1 status are permitted to stay in the US for up to six months, provided that they don’t engage in productive labor or employment in the country. 

2. Criteria

There are three types of foreign national athletes who may be eligible to temporarily stay in the US under the B-1 visa. These are:

  • Individual professional athletes. Athletes who will not be receiving any compensation, aside from the prize money from tournaments or events, may be eligible for the B-1 visa.
  • Athletes or team members of a foreign-based team. Such individuals may apply for the B-1 visa provided that they meet the following conditions:
    • They must be principally based in a foreign country;
    • Their income and salaries are primarily earned in the said country; and
    • The team is part of an international league or is participating in international sporting events.
  • Amateur hockey players. Amateur hockey players may be eligible for the B-1 visa provided that they are doing so for try-outs (professional season or playoffs). Additionally, they must be able to present a Memorandum of Agreement between them and the National Hockey League. 

If an athlete is coming from a “Visa Waiver Program eligible country”, then they don’t need to petition for a B-1 visa. They can temporarily enter the US as business visitors instead. 

3. Additional Resources

When applying for an athlete visa, knowing the type of visa you need to apply for and what documents to submit can be a tough challenge. To ensure that you can properly file your visa application, it’s always best to work with an athlete visa lawyer who is knowledgeable in US immigration requirements and laws specifically for athletes.

At Ramchand & Raval, our immigration lawyers can provide you with exceptional legal services to help you navigate the complex world of nonimmigrant visas for athletes. We leverage our over fifteen years of experience in the field to help you properly comply with statutes as well as file and monitor your application. 

Apply for an athlete visa with confidence and peace of mind with the help of our team and get ready to open doors that will advance your athletic career. Take advantage of our firm’s services. Schedule your consultation today.

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