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uscis removes 10-year limit on maximum stay for p-1 foreign athletes

The regulations governing foreign athletes playing in the United States under a P-1 visa were previously interpreted as restricting the amount of their playing time to no more then 10 years. However,on March 9, 2009, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a new policy memo, which enables foreign athletes to continue to play professionally in the United States, providing that they travel abroad after 10 years and then apply for a new visa.

USCIS clarified that INA §214(a)(2)(B) does not limit P-1 athletes to a lifetime admission of only 10 years in the United States.  This change in policy is a relief to many sports organizations, as the 10 year limit could have been especially detrimental to players who had spent multiple years gaining experience in the minor leagues or to athletes who were still competitive and in high demand even after 10 years in their respective leagues, and who would have been otherwise forced to leave the United States.

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