The US Department of Homeland Security is proposing an increase in P and O visas, which are necessary to work in the country. This would be devastating for artists around the world and the independent music companies that work with them.
Petition fees for the P visa (for acts to perform temporarily in the US) will increase by 251% from $460 to $1,615, while petitions for the O visa (for a longer-term working visit) would climb by 260% from $460 to $1,655.
The Premium Processing Service time would also change from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, for a service that already costs $2,500, adding another layer of difficulty on an already inefficient and unfair process.
Touring exposes an artist to new audiences who may have never heard their music before. Live music is key to streaming discovery and stimulates physical sales of records and merchandise. Artistic and cultural exchange between performers from different territories is also vital for the independent music sector.
Touring in the US is already prohibitively expensive, and these proposed changes will mean most independent artists around the world cannot afford to perform at festivals, venues and other gigs in the US. It will also make it more much more difficult for them to participate in recording sessions. This will negatively impact American crews and professionals too.
Have your say! We urge local trade associations and their members to submit comments opposing the proposed visa fee increases to the US Federal Register. The deadline to submit feedback has been extended until Monday March 13th.
To begin your public comment, click the green “Submit a Formal Comment” tab in the upper right corner. Write about how this proposed fee increase would impact you financially and/or artistically. It is important that your submission is unique and contains specific details about the impact to you as an individual, business or organization (as identical responses will be discarded).
Spread the word! Share this information with your contacts in the US (artists, labels, managers, venues, festivals, publicists, and other businesses you have worked with) and ask them to submit their comments too. All submissions are important, but they are looking to hear from American citizens and businesses.
Contact your government! WIN calls on its trade associations to contact their local governments to inform them of the problem and ask them to intervene. A2IM, IMPALA, AIM (via UK Music) and CIMA have already taken action – help them spread the word. Folk Music Ontario, Sounds Australia and others have also launched petitions.
The following article is extracted from the WIN Annual Report 2022-23. © Worldwide Independent More