2020 Immigration Issues For Golfers & Caddies
1. If you are currently in the U.S. in valid P-1 status and your P-1 visa and P-1 approval notice expires in the next 3 months, then you need to file a P-1 extension to extend your legal P-1 stay in the U.S.
2. If you depart the U.S. after your P-1 visa in your passport has expired, then you will need to obtain a new P-1 visa in your passport before you can reenter the U.S. in P-1 status. Note that if the consulates have not reopened, you may not be able to obtain the P visa to reenter the U.S. See https://www.realclearcounsel.com/single-post/2020/06/09/When-Will-The-US-Consulates-Open-For-Visa-Services
3. If you are currently outside the U.S. without a valid P-1 visa, you may have difficulty getting an appointment for a new P-1 visa. See number 2 above. You can use ESTA to seek admission to the U.S. for 90 days, but if you have a valid B-1 visa, you may enter the U.S. on the B-1 visa to compete for prize money only for up to six months. Once you arrive in the U.S., you will need to check your I-94 expiration date at www.cbp.gov/I94 to confirm the legal date to which you can stay in the U.S. If travel restrictions are still in place when you need to enter the U.S., follow the instructions of your tour. See https://www.realclearcounsel.com/single-post/2020/05/23/Wolf-Signs-Exemption-Allowing-US-Entry-of-Certain-Professional-Athletes
4. If you enter the U.S. in B-1 status and your I-94 is about to expire, you may need to either extend your B-1 status or file for a P-1 change of status.
If you are currently in the U.S. on ESTA, you cannot extend or change status. However, due to COVID-19, you may seek an extension of the ESTA status for an additional 30 days. See https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-offers-flexibility-departing-visa-waiver-program-travelers#:~:text=WASHINGTON%20%E2%80%94%20U.S.%20Customs%20and%20Border,coronavirus%20(COVID%2D19).
1. If you are outside the U.S. and do not have a valid P-1S visa yet, you cannot enter the U.S. on ESTA or with a B-1 visa and work for pay for a P-1 golfer. (Importantly, you cannot be paid abroad, and you cannot earn backpay later once the P-1S is approved or once you have the P-1S visa).
2. If you are currently in the U.S. on a B-1 visa or ESTA and planning to work for a P-1 golfer, you cannot earn money while on ESTA with a P-1 golfer. Your visa must match the golfer’s visa, i.e., if your golfer enters the U.S. on a B-1 visa, then you can work as a caddy for him on your B-1 visa. If your golfer has a P-1 visa, then you must file to change your status to P-1S.
*Steven M. Ladik is past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and represents numerous professional golfers on the LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR. He also serves as the outside Immigration Counsel to the National Football League. He is a Partner at Seltzer Chadwick Soefje & Ladik, PLLC. www.realclearcounsel.com