Touring has been pretty much on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold around the world in March. However, instead of making things easier for venues, musicians and cultural institutions, the US government is finding a way to make it harder for international touring musicians to come to the United States because of course. The Department of Homeland Security is now raising fees for visas, while also increasing wait times for processing and capping numbers per visa.
The full details are available at the Federal Register (noted by Music Tech) and will go into effect October 2. The government says that it is to meet the cost of processing, but it is likely also part of the Trump administration’s drive to halt as much legal immigration as possible to the United States. As Trump has said repeatedly, “we are full.”
Both O & P visas, used by touring artists to come to the US will increase by over 50%. The P application fees will rise from $460 to $695, while O fees go from $460 to $705.
There is more red tape as well. The $1,440 Premium Processing Service will switch from 15 consecutive days to 15 business days, which can hurt with last minute bookings. The amount of people covered under artist visas will be capped at 25 per visa, which means large groups will have to apply and pay for multiple visas.