Visa Tip for Booking Agents/Managers

December 13, 2019

Hi folks

Sorry for our infrequent posts. We’ll try and do better. To that end, I thought I’d share an issue that just arose with one of our clients.

A booking agent filed P-1/P-1S visa petitions for a group that has previously been approved. This time, they received an RFE on a single issue: USCIS is asking for proof that the agent is, in fact, has been authorized to act as the petitioner on behalf of the group and its employers.

While some of you may or may not be aware of this issue, and I’d love to blame this on the Screaming Carrot Demon, its actual an issue that has been around for years—though Trump has certainly made it worse. The problem arises from the different ways USCIS examiners interpret the USCIS regulations pertaining to when someone other than a person’s direct employer can file a visa petition on someone else’s behalf.

As a result we have long recommended that any time a booking agent is serving as a petitioner for a group or artist, the visa petition should include two things:

1) An agent appointment authorization from the artist/group acknowledging that the agent has been appointed to serve as the petitioner. This can be on a single sheet of paper that says:
I/we authorize [NAME OF PETITIONER] to act as my/our agent for the limited purpose of filing an immigration petition to enable me/us to obtain a work-related U.S. visa classification so that I/we may work/perform in the U.S. as well as to accept service of process in the U.S. on my/our behalf. [NAME OF ARTIST/GROUP][SIGNATURE]; and

2) An agent appointment authorization from EACH presenter/employer of the group acknowledging that they, too, have each appointed the agent to be the petitioner. This, too, need only be a single sheet of paper which says: I/we have engaged the services of [NAME OF ARTIST/GROUP] to perform in the U.S., and authorize [NAME OF PETITIONER] to act for and in our place as agent for the limited purpose of filing an immigration petition to obtain the necessary U.S. work-related visa classification for said artist as well as to accept service of process in the U.S. on our behalf. [NAME OF PRESENTER/VENUE][SIGNATURE]

Do NOT merely include this language within a booking contract or management agreement as, in our experience, USCIS will never find it. Always use separate paper.

Is this a pain in the ass? Yes. However, we do this for ALL of the petitions we file and rarely encounter any difficulties with getting presenters/venues to comply. They already know the system is messed up.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, and all other observances or lack thereof…drink up, as there are lots of potential USCIS changes ahead for the New Year.


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The purpose of this blog is to provide general advice and guidance, not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney familiar with your specific circumstances, facts, challenges, medications, psychiatric disorders, past-lives, karmic debt, and anything else that may impact your situation before drawing any conclusions, deciding upon a course of action, sending a nasty email, filing a lawsuit, or doing anything rash!



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