One-Year Relationship and Exceptions

In general, at least 75 percent of the members of the group (not including support personnel) must have been associated with the group for at least one year. Logically, this means the group itself must have existed for at least one year, though USCIS might well be convinced not to insist on this in an otherwise compelling case. There is no guidance on how the 75 percent rule applies to duos and trios but, again, USCIS can, and should, show flexibility. The required association, by the way, does not mean full-time employment but, rather, regular or periodic employment with the group.

There are otherwise two exceptions to the 75 percent rule. First, USCIS can waive it for aliens who, for reasons of illness and "exigent circumstances," replace P-1B performers. Second, USCIS has discretion to waive the rule for aliens temporarily needed to augment the group and who perform critical roles. In practice, petitioners generally can obtain either waiver with an adequate explanation.