President Signs into Law Expanded Visa Access for Athletes

On 12/22/06, President Bush signed into law the Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers, and Teams through Legal Entry (COMPETE) Act of 2006 (PL 109-463).

The bill was passed by the Senate on 12/6/06, and the House followed suit on 12/09/06.

The COMPETE Act amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to enlarge the scope of P-1 nonimmigrant visas to include: (1) a professional athlete; (2) a person who performs as an athlete, coach, or part of a team that is located in the United States and is a member of certain amateur foreign leagues or associations from which a significant number of individuals are drafted by major sports leagues or their minor league affiliates; and (3) a professional or amateur athlete who performs individually or as part of a group in a theatrical ice skating production coming to the United States in a specific ice skating production or tour. Currently P-1 visas are limited to athletes performing at an “internationally recognized level of performance.”

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 06121167.