A foreign student-athlete at a U.S. university with his or her F-1 student visa should only have to worry about studying, training, competition and enjoying the college life. And for nearly all, that is the end of the issue when it comes to collegiate completion.
By maintaining a full course load, the required grade point average and adhering to NCAA regulations generally applicable to all student-athletes, the foreign student can look forward to participating on the team.
What if the foreign student-athlete has an opportunity to pursue a career in professional sports? The options are specialized, and great care should be taken to ensure immigration law compliance.
If a foreign athlete is offered a tryout for a professional team, or plays in a sport such as golf or triathlon/endurance sports in which prize money is the sole source of remuneration, the athlete may simply seek admission to the United States as a visitor. No specific non-immigrant visa or status may be required at this early point, but the athlete is not permitted to receive a salary.
If, after a tryout, a team offers a player a contract, or if the individual athlete has an opportunity to establish a more extensive career in his or her sport, additional U.S. employment authorization is required to take the opportunity presented.
In some circumstances, a player who has recently completed his or her higher education and who was, for example, a Physical Education or Sports Management major may be able to parlay F-1 student status into an internship-style employment authorization called optional practical training (OPT), which would be valid for one year and could allow an opportunity for lawful employment with a sports-related organization for a year.
By Biz Journals
Read full article HERE>