O Visa Attorney Discusses Foreign Major League Baseball Athletes

You might think that baseball is an All-American game, but the nationalities of both Major League and Minor League ballplayers might surprise you. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, 234 out of 750 major league baseball players on the field in the 2011 season were not born in the United States – that’s more than 25 percent. At the same time, almost fifty percent of the roughly 7,000 minor league baseball players are foreign-born. 

While these professional athletes are not much different than other seasonal workers, many Americans don’t usually think of pro ball players when they think of immigration and worker visas. 

Which visas are right for professional athletes? 

Major League baseball players can either apply for a P-1 visa or the O-1 visa – work visas designed to allow internationally gifted and recognized athletes to live in the United States while participating in sporting events and displaying their talents. 

Minor League baseball players, however, had to wait until 2006 to receive a smooth path to a work visa – when President George W. Bush signed the Compete Act – a law designed to help less-than-internationally-known athletes come to the United States to play ball. 

Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney
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