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Music History

America is making it impossible for foreign acts to tour the country. This is very, very bad.

[This was my weekly column for – AC]

Back in the fall of 2020, when COVID-19 shut down the live music industry, the United States Department of Homeland Security quietly proposed increases in the cost of visas necessary for foreign musicians who want to tour America.

The new asking price of a “P-3″ visa, the one needed by musicians who want to play live in America, would rise to US$690 from US$460, a jump of 67 per cent. Another document, the four flavours of the “O” visa (required by people with “extraordinary ability or achievement” or accompanying people/relatives of such people) also had a proposed increase.

These proposals landed at a time when no one was on the road, so the timing suggests that the U.S. wanted the new fees to slip under the radar. Those who noticed expressed concern about the increased financial burden on any non-American act. There was some initial chatter about the situation, but with months of COVID lockdowns ahead, no one paid too much attention and the increases were never put into place.

But then earlier this year, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USIC) tried again. And like the headline says, this is very, very bad–and not just for Canadian acts but for every act from America.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38300 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “America is making it impossible for foreign acts to tour the country. This is very, very bad.

  • Are the $0 visa costs just for US artists visiting Canada or is it the same for artists from other countries? This could be helpful when suggesting on social media that bands from overseas play Canada.


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