Foreign artists face a big blow after the recent amendments made by the US government in relation to the Visa application fee and processing.
In what serves as a major setback, the artists will be forced to pay a higher fee for Visa application and experience longer processing from 2nd October 2020.
This change was earlier proposed in November 2019 and its implementation will allow a 50% hike for the Visa fees.
According to music tech, the fee increase will affect petitions for both O and P visas, which are usually applied for by US non-profit arts organizations to bring musicians into the country.
Although both the O and P visas require either a US resident or employer to act as a petitioner; the difference is that the O visa is valid for three years whereas the P visa is only valid for a year and commonly used by touring musicians and stage talent.
Filing fees for O visa petitions which cover “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement” will rise by 53% and families, athletes, as well as musicians applying for a P visa, will be expected to pay $695 which is a 51% increase compared to the previous fee.
Apart from these changes, the US Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS) has also reviewed the number of people covered by a single petition which only allows for a minimum of 25 individuals. Larger groups will therefore be required to apply for more than one visa in order to cover its members.
In regard to processing time, (USCIS) has also made alterations for its Premium Processing Service from 15 calendar days to 15 business days. This is a $1,440 service for organizations to fast-track visa processing.
This proposal has caused an uproar in the art sector with some lamenting that many foreign artists will be locked out from making tours to the US for concerts or events to showcase their craft.
Those behind the proposal argue that the new rates are “intended to recover the estimated full cost to USCIS of providing immigration adjudication and naturalization services.
Currently, there has been less travel due to the COVID-19 impact however, once things resume to normal, foreign artists who have been booked for shows might struggle to get back on their feet.