Musicians Speak Against U.S. Touring Visa Rate Hikes

Musicians from all over the world have spent the last several weeks rallying fans against proposed increases in visa costs by the federal government. Visa costs for international artists could nearly triple under a new policy, which could greatly affect working musicians, especially the smaller ones. Public commentary on the new policy ended yesterday (March 13).

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed the visa changes in January. At the time, they justified that the big jumps were necessary due to increased costs at the agency. The new guidelines would see costs for O-1 and P-2 increasing from $460 to $1,655 and $460 to $1,615 respectively. Obviously, these severe changes caused a big stir in the industry, which responded quickly.

As a matter of fact, The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW), launched a letter campaign, urging US musicians to write to their local congressperson. The main argument is that the hike in visa costs for international artists would hurt local musicians and the music industry at large as well. You can read some parts of the statement from the UMAW below.

“The cost of the current visas were already prohibitive for many, but the rising costs associated with touring paired with the tripled cost of a visa will severely impact the desire and ability for international artists to perform here, affecting lower-income and marginalized artists the most.

If these fees go up, we will see the negative economic effects in the communities supported by arts events, with U.S. based jobs in the cultural sector being put at risk. Venues, festivals, booking agents, labels and promoters will all bear the brunt of these via increases, and consumers will see prices increase for concert tickets and merchandise from international artists.”

You can read the full document from The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services here.

Stay tuned for more news!

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