Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Major League Soccer Player Gets Fast-Tracked P-1 Visa -- But at What Cost? reports that New England Revolution striker Edgaras Jankauskas was able to acquire P-1 status in a matter of only three days.

The speedy resolution occurred because Jankauskas already had the right to enter the country on a tourist visa, according to Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns.

Jankauskas entered the United States on the tourist visa on June 28, filed a change of status under the USCIS's Premium Processing service on June 29, and was issued an approval by July 1.

Under Premium Processing, USCIS is required to issue a response to the filing of an eligible petition (such as for O-1 and P-1 status) within 15 days. This response can come in the form of a denial, approval or Request for Evidence (RFE), wherein the USCIS requires the production of additional documentation to support the petition. By regulation, the $1000 premium processing fee is to be refunded if the Service takes longer than the allotted 15 days.

While the idea of using a tourist visa to come to the United States and immediately changing to P-1 visa may seem expedient in the short-run, it could be problematic in the future. Oftentimes consulates will look askance upon the filing of a change of status so soon after entry using a tourist visa, as a quick filing can be seen as evidence of a lack of intent to be a bona fide B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant. Therefore such a strategy can lead to problems in acquiring visas at foreign consulates in the future.

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