Cultural organizations in Georgia and around the country sometimes take part in reciprocal exchange programs. To facilitate such programs, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services makes P-2 visas available to the foreign artists or musicians who will be visiting the United States. To qualify for a P-2 visa, the foreign musician or artist must possess skills that are broadly similar to an American musician or artist who is participating in the program.
Before a foreign artist or musician can obtain a P-2 visa, a U.S. employer or sponsoring organization must complete and submit a 1-129 form. The Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker form should be accompanied by documents including a copy of the reciprocal exchange agreement, evidence showing that the recipient has similar skills to an American who will be performing abroad and proof that an American labor organization was involved when the exchange agreement was negotiated. USCIS also requires a detailed itinerary when P-2 visa recipients will be performing in multiple locations.
When petitions submitted by employers or sponsoring organizations are approved, foreign artists or musicians can apply for their P-2 visas at a U.S. consulate or embassy. P-2 visas are effective for up to a year and can be extended for up to an additional 12 months. Spouses and children who wish to accompany P-2 recipients can apply for P-4 visas. P-4 visa holders are not permitted to work in the United States, but they can attend school or university.
The rules for work-based visas are strictly enforced, and employers can expect their H-1B, H-2B, P-1 and P-2 applications to be scrutinized closely. Attorneys familiar with employment immigration rules and regulations might assist employers during the application process and ensure that immigration authorities receive all of the required paperwork. Attorneys may also advocate on their behalf if their applications are denied and they wish to file an appeal.