Though cold temperatures and snow are still gripping much of the nation, baseball fans are looking forward to opening day. Fans of the Yankees who live in Florida were likely pleased to hear that the team’s new pitcher from Japan, Masahiro Tanaka, has received his visa and soon be travelling to Florida for Spring Training.
The receipt of the visa was in part due to actions taken by New York Senator Chuck Schumer at the request of the baseball team. He contacted the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of the Yankees and requested that the pitcher’s application be processed quickly. It was, and Tanaka’s visa was approved. Without him intervening, Tanaka likely would not have made it to the first day of pitchers and catchers practice, later this week. Normally it can take up to 30 days for such an application to be processed.
As is the case with many professional athletes seeking to move to the United States to play for a team, Tanaka is here on a P-visa. Like other visas available to individuals seeking to enter the U.S., the process of obtaining it can be time consuming, complex and stressful. When, in the case of professional athletes, applicants have other concerns, such as their physical condition to be worried about, it is generally a good idea to work with someone who understands how the immigration system works. In most situations that person is an immigration lawyer. It is almost guaranteed that is what Tanaka and other professional athletes have done.
Source: Daily News, “Yankees turn to Senator Schumer for help getting Masahiro Tanaka a visa,” Anthony McCarron, Jan. 31, 2014