Sports & Entertainment

At Mercado & Rengel we have extensive experience in helping international athletes and entertainers realize their dreams of performing or competing in the United States. We are dedicated to dealing with the unique legal needs of our clients in the sports and entertainment industries.

Today, more gifted athletes than ever are being recruited from all over the world to play professional sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, football and others in the U.S. In addition, because of top-notch training facilities throughout the U.S., many athletes are relocating in order to train for national and international competitions. There are also many athletes who simply want to experience the American style of living for themselves and their families.

We at Mercado & Rengel have been helping athletes and entertainers realize their dreams of performing or competing in the U.S. for many years. In our sports and entertainment practice we are able to handle all areas of law that surround sports, specifically contracts, intellectual property, negotiations, litigation, and the like.


We have been able to help with the most difficult cases and are able to assist with visa issues and then help with everything from home purchasing to investing in the U.S. Our experts on relocation are also able to assist with any issues related to the move to the United States. Our representation is always handled with the utmost discretion and the type of personalized attention that our clients deserve.

We evaluate your specific circumstances and your goals and help you choose the visa that will best serves your needs:


An EB-1 visa is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics seeking to establish permanent residency (green card) in the United States. This category is the gold-standard of U.S. visas and is available for the nationally and internationally recognized athletes, performers, scientists, professors/researchers, and executives.

No labor certification is required for this category, which means that no specific job offer is required for an EB-1. The applicant should be entering the U.S. to continue working in the field in which the applicant has extraordinary ability. Applicants in this class must establish that they have an “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and their achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation”.

In the case of an athlete, in order to obtain the EB-1 visa, they must demonstrate “sustained or international acclaim” and that their achievements have been recognized in their field. We at Mercado & Rengel have been successful on many EB-1 applications and we can help you realize your goal of living and working the U.S.


The EB-2, is for professional workers with advanced degrees or aliens with exceptional ability. In general, “professional workers with advanced degrees” are workers with Masters or Ph.D. degrees and, in some cases, workers with Bachelor´s degrees plus five years of work experience in the same field. “Aliens with exceptional ability” are aliens with a high level of professional achievement, but slightly less than what is required for aliens with “extraordinary ability” under the EB-1 category.

The third category of employment visas, EB-3, is for professional workers, skilled workers, and unskilled workers. “Professional workers” are workers in positions that normally require a Bachelor´s degree. “Skilled workers” are workers in positions that normally require at least two years of professional training or work experience. “Unskilled workers” are workers in positions that normally require less than two years of training or prior work experience.

The procedures for filing EB-2 and EB-3 visa applications are very similar. Normally, a U.S. business must agree to serve as the employer. The employer can be a business where the foreign is currently employed (usually with a temporary visa, such as an H-1B Visa) or it can be a business that does not currently employ the foreign worker, but would like to employ the worker in the future when their visa is approved.

The employer is also sometimes called the “petitioner,” because the employer signs and submits a “petition” (application) with the government on behalf of the foreign worker. The foreign worker is often called the “beneficiary,” because he or she is the person who will receive the benefit when the visa application is approved.

For both, the EB-2 and EB-3 visa categories, the employer must must do the PERM, which stands for “Program for Electronic Review Management” and is the process where your employer shows proof that the EB-2 or EB-3 worker is not taking away employment from US workers. This requires submission of an application, advertising the job in newspaper and recruiting websites, and a showing that the employer was unsuccessful in recruiting a qualified U.S. worker for the position.

El EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) is designed to allow individuals to live and work in the U.S. without a job offer, if the applicant can demonstrate that their work is in the “National Interest of the United States” and they have a distinguished professional history.

What sets the EB2-NIW apart is that, unlike the EB-2 and EB-3 visas, it is one of the few ways to obtain Permanent Residency (Green Card) without an employer or Labor Certification. The first requirement of the NIW is to show that the individual has either an Advanced Degree (any degree above a baccalaureate degree, including MD´s, PhD´s or equivalent), or a BA/BS degree and 5 years of experience, or by demonstrating “Exceptional Ability” in the field.


Contract negotiations in a common law country like the United States requires the skill and experience that can only be acquired through years of experience. Negotiation and review of complex legal contracts must be undertaken with an understanding of both the clients needs and goals, as well as an eye for the legal protections that may be beneficial for the employee into the future. In the areas of Sports and Entertainment, this is particularly important when an athlete or entertainer decides to venture out to a different country, such as the U.S.

At Mercado & Rengel you can count on the kind of attention to detail that few law firms can match. We have found over the years that athletes may rely on agents or family members who are not attorneys and do not have the necessary experience dealing with U.S. law. Our specialized team of international attorneys have already helped countless individuals and companies with the negotiation, review, and drafting of contracts for just about every legal situation.

We can help you with the following:

  • Negotiating contracts

  • Legal advice for contract negotiations
  • Negotiate on your behalf with the other party

  • Drafting or reviewing letters of intent and employment offers

  • Drafting or reviewing non-disclosure agreements

  • Negotiating image rights and sponsorship opportunities

  • Review of all manner of agreements

We have more than 20 years of experience in the field of international contracting. We work closely with agents and managers in order to avoid potential problems and achieve the best result for the client.