Can an EB-5 investor extend P-3 status once an I-526 petition is filed?

Yes, provided the P-3 visa holder is not classified as support personnel, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will generally permit P-3 extensions for visa holders with pending immigration petitions, including the I-526 petition.

Once the EB-5 investor’s P-3 visa has expired or the cultural performance they were admitted for has concluded, they will be required to return to their home country. Upon approval of the I-526 petition, the EB-5 investor will be required to undergo consular processing via the local U.S. embassy or consulate office located in their home country.

P-3 Visa

The P-3 classification permits foreign nationals to temporarily enter the United States for creative purposes, specifically “solely to perform, teach or coach under a commercial or noncommercial program that is culturally unique,” according to the USCIS Policy Manual. Typically, the classification is afforded to artists and entertainers, either individual performers or groups.

The criteria of “culturally unique”, which plays a significant role in the adjudication of P-3 visa petitions, generally refers to a traditional art form with historical roots and origins in a specific culture. The applicant for a P-3 visa must intend on participating in a cultural event in the United States and demonstrate in their application how their particular performance will contribute to the development and understanding of their art form.

To apply for a P-3 visa, a U.S employer, agent or sponsoring entity must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on behalf of the applicant. A number of supporting documentation must be appended to the application, including a copy of the contract between the petitioner and beneficiary, an outline and itinerary of the cultural event, documentation certifying the authenticity of the applicant’s skill and art form, documentation affirming the cultural uniqueness of the planned performances, and a written consultation from a suitable labor organization.

If the P-3 visa holder requires more time to continue or conclude their cultural performance, extensions of the P-3 visa may be granted in one year increments. To extend a P-3 visa, the visa holder’s sponsor or employer must file a new I-129 petition requesting an extension. If the applicant is switching employers, they will not be permitted to begin work under the new employer until the new I-129 petition has been approved.