Labor Unions Can Submit Negative P Visa Consultations Directly to USCIS08 Apr 2019
Similar to the policy announced this past fall for O-1/O-2 consultations, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now accepting negative P consultations directly from labor unions. The measure is presumably to prevent fraud in the P-1, P-2, and P-3 petition process.
Background on P Consultation Letters
The P-1, P-2, and P-3 nonimmigrant visa classifications provide various avenues for qualifying artists, athletes, and entertainers to work or perform temporarily in the United States. See the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Artists, Athletes, and Entertainers: O, P, and Q Visas (26.Sep.2013) for more details on P visas.
In most circumstances, a P petition must include a consultation letter from an appropriate peer group or labor organization. The consultation letter, however, is not binding on the USCIS. While a positive consultation letter certainly may be helpful in a case, it is not dispositive. Similarly, while a petitioner may feel anxious over the prospect of submitting a negative consultation letter with a P petition, it is not unusual for the USCIS to still approve such a case.
Direct Submission to USCIS Designed to Prevent Fraud
The new policy allows the peer group or labor organization to submit a negative consultation letter directly to the USCIS. Despite the fact that such letters are not binding, the USCIS is concerned that an employer / petitioner may receive a negative consultation letter, and then submit a doctored or falsified version of the letter to make it appear as though the group actually supports the petition and its approval.
This new policy should not affect most P petitions. This measure likely would impact only those filed with fraudulent documents, or possibly those cases where a petitioner received a negative letter from one group, a positive letter from a different group, and only submits the positive letter.
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