US Immigration Issues for Pro Athletes: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Feb 18, 2021

Are you facing US Immigration Issues for Pro Athletes?

Think back to that moment when you just signed with a US team and your life started moving at a mile a minute. As a non-American any concerns you might have had about working in the US were forgotten as soon as your new GM said: “We will take care of the immigration issues…welcome aboard”. This was followed by somebody at the team head office calling you and completing some paperwork. A few weeks later you were the proud holder of a P-1 Visa. Since then your team’s head office reached out regularly to arrange for its renewal.

What happens when you move on?

This regular renewal event continued until you moved to a Canadian team or retired from playing in the US. Now there is no one calling and reminding you about US immigration issues. However, during those few years you did marry, have children, buy a house in the US. In fact, you have built up quite a comfortable life in the US.

Then one day, long after your last P-1 Visa expired, you are returning home to the US from a trip. Suddenly you are stopped by US border officials. After looking at your travel record on their computer and asking you a few questions, to your surprise you are denied entry into the US.  They do not consider you to be a genuine visitor. You then demand to see a supervisor to protest that you have come into the US “hundreds of times without a problem”. You insist that that your “wife and children are waiting at home” for your return. The supervisor then pronounces, “Well now ….any doubts I had about you not being a genuine visitor are now gone!”

If possible, things then get worse. Your fleeting plan about having a friend sneak you into the US on their boat or in their trunk are blown away by his next comment….“And if you are thinking of sneaking in, that will buy you a 5 year bar from the US”.

Now you have to call home, break the bad news…and figure out a solution.

US Immigration Issues for Pro Athletes family separation

Don’t risk being separated from your family.

But this could never happen to me!

Please note that in this Post 9 -11 Southern Border Frenzy period this scenario is indeed happening frequently. Prevent it from happening to YOU.  It is critical that YOU take control of your US immigration planning immediately.

Key things to consider regarding US Immigration Issues for Pro Athletes

  1. Should you move beyond the P-1 Visa and apply for Resident Alien status?
  2. What is the best pathway to follow to Resident Alien status if playing in US, or if playing in Canada, or if retired?
  3. What is the best way to proceed, to adjust your status or to apply outside the US?
  4. Can you leave or enter the US during the process and not ruin your application?
  5. What are the tax implications of acquiring Resident Alien status?
  6. If you are already a Resident Alien, should you apply for US citizenship?
  7. What are the tax implications of acquiring US citizenship?
  8. Will you lose your current citizenship if you acquire US citizenship?

These are good starting points for discussions to figure out the right long-term US immi-gration strategy not only for yourself, but also for your family.

At Lesperance and Associates we are experts and can guide you through this process. If you want to avoid having to make that life-changing phone call one day in the future, let us know. It’s important!