Music Industry

The UK joins Canada in expressing concern about proposed new visa costs for touring America

This is nuts.

If an American band wants to cross the border and tour through Canada, no problem. Yes, there’s some bureaucracy involved–isn’t there always when crossing a border–but the costs are bearable. However, if a Canadian band wants to tour the US, they’re expect to shoulder the burden of America’s problems with immigration.

Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security announced plans to raise the cost of a touring visa for foreign acts by more than 250%. To get into the weeds a bit, this proposal is for a “P” visa, which covers acts coming to perform temporarily. The current rate for a per-person visa is US$460. The new fee could be as high as US$1,615. A longer-term “O” visa would jump from US$460 to US$1,655.

Again, that’s per person in the touring party. Everything has to be paid upfront, too. Larger acts will be able to absorb that cost, but if you’re a regular middle-class type performer, this is a BIG deal.

Why the proposed increase? Because the DHS claims there’s high demand and insufficient staff at the Citizen and Immigration Department. In other words, because DHS can’t get their act together, they expect touring musicians to pick up their slack.

These new fees would impact all foreign acts wishing to tour the US. The British are also outraged, calling this “crippling costs for UK artists looking to tour North America.”

I quote further from The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC): “In the midst of the ongoing cost of living crisis and with the live sector still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, it would make performing in the world’s biggest music market unaffordable for many emerging and mid-level artists.”

They’ve started a campaign called #LetTheMusicMove to draw attention to the situation and oppose the new fees. Keep in mind that acts are already dealing with massive inflationary pressures, including the cost of airfare, hotel, buses, vans, trucks, roadcrew–basically, everything that’s needed to go on tour has increased in price.

This will not go down without a fight from Canada, the UK, and other countries.

The DHS and Citizen and Immigration Services are now accepting comments about the proposed changes. The survey will allow US citizens to send feedback that will be (allegedly) taken under consideration.

Read more here.

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 38156 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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