9 FAM 402.2-4(A) Visitors for Pleasure
Aliens who wish to enter the United States temporarily for pleasure, and who are otherwise eligible to receive visas, may be classifiable as nonimmigrant B-2 visitors provided they meet the criteria listed below.
(7) Amateur Entertainers and Athletes: A person who is an amateur in an entertainment or athletic activity is, by definition, not a member of any of the profession associated with that activity. An amateur is someone who normally performs without remuneration (other than an allotment for expenses). A performer who is normally compensated for performing cannot qualify for a B-2 visa based on this note even if the performer does not make a living at performing, or agrees to perform in the United States without compensation. Thus, an amateur (or group of amateurs) who will not be paid for performances and will perform in a social and/or charitable context or as a competitor in a talent show, contest, athletic event, or other similar activity is eligible for B-2 classification, even if the incidental expenses associated with the visit are reimbursed.
9 FAM 402.2-5(C)(4) (U) Professional Athletes
a. (U) Professional athletes, such as golfers and auto racers, who receive no salary or payment other than prize money for his or her participation in a tournament or sporting event.
b. (U) Athletes or team members who seek to enter the United States as members of a foreign-based team in order to compete with another sports team should be admitted provided:
(1) (U) The foreign athlete and the foreign sports team have their principal place of business or activity in a foreign country;
(2) (U) The income of the foreign-based team and the salary of its players are principally accrued in a foreign country; and
(3) (U) The foreign-based sports team is a member of an international sports league or the sporting activities involved have an international dimension.
c. (U) Amateur hockey players who are asked to join a professional team during the course of the regular professional season or playoffs for brief try-outs. The players are draft choices who have not signed professional contracts, but have signed a memorandum of agreement with a National Hockey League (NHL)-parent team. Under the terms of the agreement, the team will provide only for incidental expenses such as round-trip fare, hotel room, meals, and transportation. At the time of the visa application or application for admission to the United States, the players must provide a copy of the memorandum of agreement and a letter from the NHL team giving the details of the try-outs. If an agreement is not available at that time, a letter from the NHL team must give the details of the try out and state that such an agreement has been signed.