Music Industry

Good news! The US has delay increasing visa fees for international musicians (including Canadians, of course)

Earlier this year, there was much concern about America increasing visa fees for touring international musicians. The proposed increases and the conditions for O and P visas were insane. For example, the cost of one would jump from US$460 to over US$1,600. Payable in advance, too. Imagine being a typical band being faced with that kind of expense.

Governments all over the world got involved, including Canada where American musicians are free to tour without these same conditions. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services was bombarded with complaints from all sides, pointing that this would kill many international tours through America, impacting greatly on local economies. Meanwhile, the government says they need the money to get their act together when it comes to border protection, so they’re going to take it out on touring musicians.

Well, there’s some good news and some (potentially) bad news.

First, the good news. The USCIS has delayed any increases until March 2024 and might even lower the proposed rate. The bad news? Increases are probably still coming.

Meanwhile, the live music industry continues to raise concerns. This is from Stephen Parker, Executive Director of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA): “[The] USCIS proposal to drastically increase visa fees for international performers poses a severe economic and cultural threat to independent live entertainment in the U.S. It undermines the vital role these performers play on our stage. A 2023 survey of independent venues, festivals, and promoters revealed that international talent accounts for over a quarter of performances at an average venue and can even make up 100 percent of performances for Latin music promoters. While we appreciate the USCIS decision to delay final rulemaking on this issue until March 2024, NIVA will continue working to stop the proposed fee increases.”

Let’s see where this goes.

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 38343 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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