As if the world of live music wasn’t perilous enough right now for performers, the United States Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will raise visa fees for foreign artists by around 50 percent next month.
The rate hikes effect the P and O visas, which are the ones most commonly used by international touring artists and allow them to return to the U.S. within one and three years respectively.
The O visa is for “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement” and will see a cost increase from $460 to $705, a jump of 53 percent. The P visa, which is often used by family members of touring musicians, will go up to $695. Additionally, waiting times will also go up to 15 business days, while a fast pass is available for an extra $1,000 that will expedite the process.
In response to these changes, David Martin of the U.K.’s Featured Artists Coalition pointed out not only the risk posed to live performances from certain musicians, but also a resulting drop in studio collaboration.
The US visa system is already prohibitive for UK artists and this change will see even more of our globally renowned talent shut out. Not only will the US live circuit suffer with millions of American fans missing the chance to see their favourite British artists, artists will lose the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas with creators on the opposite side of the Atlantic. At a time when we should be celebrating and building on our shared history of cultural exchange, this development instead moves us further apart. There are no winners.
These new fees and delays are set to go into effect on October 2nd. For more information on visa fees for performing artists, visit the Federal Register’s website.