Labor Unions May Submit Copies of Negative P Visa Consultation Letters Directly to USCIS

Effective February 8, 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to current or future P nonimmigrant visa petitions [PDF version].

There are a variety of subcategories in the P nonimmigrant classification which cover athletes, artists, entertainers, and their essential support personnel. We discuss these subcategories on site in our articles on the P1A [see article], P1B [see article], P2 [see article], and P3 [see article] classifications.

In most cases, a P nonimmigrant petition must be accompanied by a P visa consultation. The USCIS is allowing labor unions to, where applicable, submit negative consultation letters directly in response to concerns that P visa petitioners have, in some cases, falsified negative consultations from labor unions as no-objections or favorable consultations. The new policy will allow the USCIS to compare a consultation letter submitted by the petitioner with that submitted directly by the labor union.

In response to similar concerns, the USCIS had previously adopted the same negative consultation letter policy with respect to O1 [see article] and O2 [see article] nonimmigrant visa petitions [see article on policy for O visa negative consultations]. The policy for P visa petitions effectively extends the same provisions that the USCIS has been employing for O visa petitions.

In order to submit a copy of a negative P nonimmigrant consultation letter, a labor union should send it to UnionConsultationMailbox@uscis.dhs.gov. This same address is used for negative O nonimmigrant consultation letters as well. The USCIS added that in order “[t]o ensure USCIS matches the consultation letters to the appropriate petitions, labor unions should include each beneficiary's name and the last five digits of the beneficiary's passport number on the consultation letters.”

The new labor union negative consultation policies for O and P petitions do not change any of the existing evidentiary requirements. Instead, they are intended to ensure that a labor union may have its voice heard if it objects to the approval of an O or P nonimmigrant petition. The policy will make it easier for the USCIS to identify cases where a petitioner omits or otherwise falsifies a negative consultation letter submitted by a labor union.

When filing an O or P petition, it is important to be forthright and include all required information, even if it may in certain instances cut against approval of the petition. Petitioners and petition beneficiaries are well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney in the area of employment immigration for assistance throughout the entire process.

To learn more about O, P, and other nonimmigrant work visa categories, please see our growing selection of articles on these issues [see article].