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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 suport 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




  1. "Laurie made the whole visa process easy for me. She speaks Spanish, she could translate the documents from Chile and she got my visa quickly. I recommend her highly."

- Juan Eduardo Jaramillo Reyes (CHI), professional polo player


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