This past week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a considerable fee increase to the touring visa for artists by the end of 2020.
DHS proposed the fee increase last November and it takes effect in October. There are two types of visas involved in this increase. According to NME, O visas are for “individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement,” while P visas can be used by family of those individuals.
The O visa rate will increase by 53%, going from $460 to $705. On the other hand, the P visa will decrease by 51%, making it $695.
To Matthew Covey, an immigration attorney for the nonprofit Tamizat, this fee increase is extremely damaging for most arts institutions.
“The bigger problem is that [Immigration and Naturalization] and later USCIS adjudication of the O and P regulations has become so arbitrary and onerous, that most arts institutions have been forced to hire attorneys to manage the process for them. As such, presenting performing artists in the U.S. now comes with massive legal costs which are — in our opinion — a catastrophic financial impediment to cultural exchange.”Matthew Covey to NPR
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration service said that “the current fees do not recover the full cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services.”
Because of all regulations on a foreign artist touring visa, many music groups have been deported or denied. This, in turn, can be very problematic for future groups abroad that hope to tour the U.S.