Sports and entertainment immigration attorney Sherrod Seward is this week’s special guest on The Fight Business Podcast with Patrick Auger.
Seward shares incredible insights into the process of obtaining work authorization visas for international athletes competing in the UFC, boxing, and other sports.
Seward explains that because UFC is included on a list of exempted organizations, along with NBA, NFL, PGA, and others, fighters can be eligible for special waivers to compete for the promotion.
Previously, the UFC would sign fighters, and then the promotion would apply for a P-1A visa for the athlete. This is a common visa for an international athlete coming to the United States.
However, now, it’s starting to become increasingly difficult to secure these work authorization visas. Rather than immediately obtaining one when signing the athlete, the UFC instead now goes through the steps only after a fight is officially scheduled — as this almost guarantees that the athlete will be able to enter the United States on the eligible visa.
And now with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the United States, these restrictions have tightened further and timeframes are blowing out — even with premium processing.