Immigration Options For Foreign Collegiate Golfers

The foreign collegiate golfer on an F-1 student visa who is approaching graduation and intending to turn pro faces a confusing set of immigration regulations through which he or she must navigate in order to maintain legal status properly and have permission to remain in the U.S. and earn money playing professional golf.

The following is intended as a summary of the various immigration options available to golfers in order to compete in professional golf tournaments in the U.S. It is intended as a general discussion and is not a substitute for legal advice based upon an individual’s fact situation.

B-1 Visa:

One option for foreign professional golfers attempting to enter the United States to play in professional golf tournaments is to apply for a B-1 visitor visa. The B-1 regulations, §402.2-5(C)(4) of the Foreign Affairs Manual of the U.S. Department of State, specifically discuss golfers, saying: “professional athletes, such as golfers and auto racers, who receive no salary or payment other than prize money, for their participation in a tournament or sporting event” may qualify for a B-1 visa. Save this reference in ca