Visa's for Horsemen

There are several different Visa's available for qualified Horsemen

Visa Info

Visa Categories for Horsemen

P-1 Athlete Visa

Suitable for accomplished riders, jockeys, polo players and hunt staff 

Available for athletes who compete at “an internationally recognized” level of performance who have achieved "international recognition."  Not for casual competitor or former competitors.  

Must be able to document competitive achievements with  a strong show record at international level, awards, prizes, publicity, international ranking, or membership on a team representing your country. Supporting letters from experts in the field are helpful but other concrete evidence is required. 

Must have an offer of employment from an equine facility that requires an athlete of the above caliber in their employment.

Good for 5 years, renewable up to 10 years.

P-1-S Essential Support Visa

Suitable for grooms, or other essential support personnel 

Visa is derivative to primary P–1 visa, cannot be applied for independently.

Requires the individual to have  specialized knowledge and prior experience working with primary P–1 visa holder.

O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa

Suitable for only the highest level riders, horse trainers and grooms. 

Available to persons of extraordinary ability in "athletics," including horse trainers and/or upper level grooms. 

Good for 3 years, renewable.

Inidividual must establish that he or she is one of the small percentage who has risen to the top of their field of expertise. 

Must be able to prove sustained national or international acclaim by meting at least three of following criteria: 

Receipt of major prizes and/or recognized awards

Membership in a selective organization that requires outstanding achievement for membership

Published materials, articles in major publications or references by or about him or her in print media, internet sources

Experience presiding as a judge or analyzing the performance of others

Evidence of employment in a critical capacity for an individual or entity with a distinguished reputation

Evidence of high salary or other compensation, benefits

Detailed support letters from recognized experts in the field are helpful but not determinitive  

O-2 Person Assisting O–1 Visa holder

Suitable for grooms or other essential support personnel

Visa is derivative to primary O–1 rider or trainer; cannot be applied for independently.

Requires the individual to have prior  working experience with primary O-1 visa holder.

J-1 Training Visa 

Suitable for many positions, including rider, groom or  barn manager

Individual applies through special sponsoring organizations.

Not feasible for nationals from some countries.

Requires a comprehensive training program by host employer. 

Applicant must have past experience and career path consistent with training program.

Good for up to 12 months, maximum, cannot be renewed. 

May require trainee to return to home country before applying for another visa.

H-1B Professionals And Specialty Occupation Visa 

Suitable for veterinarians, other professionals and managers with college degrees 

Requires membership in the profession or certain recognized specialty occupations. 

Requires the equivalent of a U.S. college degree or higher in the field. 

Available position must require an individual of that skill level—typically a bachelor’s degree in specific field—and individual must have appropriate degree or equivalent work experience.

Subject to numerical limitations—not always available.

Involves obtaining a Labor Condition Application.  

Employer must pay “prevailing wage”

Good for 3 years, renewable.

H-2B Temporary/Seasonal Workers

Suitable for grooms and other temporary or seasonal staff

Subject to numerical caps each year

Difficult to obtain as a practical matter – not always available

Good for a season, 6–9 months only, but renewable year after year

Requires Temporary Labor Certification from local and regional Department of Labor to establish that no qualified U.S. workers are available.

H-3 "Culturally Unique" Visa 

Suitable for individuals who perform or  teach  a  "culturally unique" activity 

Must establish the activity is part of an overall program promoting a "culturally unique" art or activity

Typical activities include British fox hunting, French classical dressage and  coaching

Good for 1-year increments only