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