Touring in the USA is challenging enough for foreign musicians with the tangled web of visas and permits required to legally perform in the country, and the US Citizenship and Immigration Service’s latest move will only make things more difficult. USCIS has announced a 42% fee increase on nonimmigrant temporary work permits for artists, entertainers, and athletes, raising the price of a permit from $325 USD to $460 USD effective December 20, 2016.
The Canadian Federation of Musicians has chided the move in a statement. “While we recognize that for Canadians the USCIS artist visa process may be more simplified than other musicians seeking to enter the United States under the same permits, however, a fee surge of this kind adds an additional and unacceptable financial burden on our members,” said executive director Liana White in a statement.
She continued, “The position and arguments of the AFM/CFM and the arts coalition will urge USCIS to respond to its current lack of quality in service, and to press for vast improvements and consistency in processing times — especially now considering the substantial fee hikes.”
USCIS is meeting with stakeholders in the US nonprofit arts sector on November 2 to further discuss the fee hike and its related issues.