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Information for Members on Proposed Increase to US ‘O’ and ‘P’ Visa Petition Fees

The MU are shocked to hear that the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the US Department of Homeland Security are proposing huge increases to the Petition fees for US visas.

Photo ofDave Webster
By Dave Webster Published: 10 February 2023 | 11:21 AM Updated: 23 February 2023 | 12:48 PM
Close up of a Visa document and passport.
Please take a moment to complete the short questionnaire on your ability to afford these increased charges. Image credit: Shutterstock.

This affects musicians as these proposed increases will be applied to the ‘O’ and ‘P’ work visas which are required when undertaking engagements in the US.

The proposed increase to the current petition fee of $460 to $1,655 (260%) for a regularly processed ‘O’ visa and to $1,615 (251%) for a regularly processed ‘P’ visa will, in one stroke, render the ability for artists to work in the United States unaffordable.

Furthermore, the amount of people on any petition will be capped at 25, requiring multiple petitions and fees for a single ensemble. This will diminish the ability for Orchestras and large ensembles, including crews, to tour the US.

Finally, the Premium Processing time will be extended from 15 calendar days to 15 working days.

We have been asked to provide statistics on Musicians’ ability to afford these increased charges

The MU has been in contact with US counterparts at the League of American Orchestras and our colleagues at Tamizdat – there will be a strong US arts lobby against this proposal. The MU are in discussions with other UK music industry partners regarding our response to this.

We have been asked to provide statistics on Musicians’ ability to afford these increased charges, and would be grateful if you could please take a moment to complete the short questionnaire below. The results of this will be shared with our colleagues at UK Music and LIVE as we formulate our joint response to this. The deadline for returning this survey is Sunday 26 February, 5.30pm (GMT).

UCIS is also seeking feedback

USCIS is seeking feedback on the ability of petitioners to pay increased fees, so specific examples of the financial impact are most helpful and comments can be submitted through the US federal register. The deadline is 6 March 2023.

Additional points to consider when submitting comments: 

  • USCIS should take immediate action to make the artist visa process more efficient and reliable.
  • Arts stakeholders in all parts of the U.S. engage international artists and do not have the ability to pay these proposed fees.
  • Drastic fee increases will stifle international cultural activity, put U.S.-based jobs at risk, and have a negative economic ripple effect on communities supported by arts events.
  • Delays in processing are already forcing some petitioners to pay the unaffordable Premium fee, or forgo engaging international artists.

For background on the U.S. artist visa process, please see the League's dedicated website, Artists from Abroad, where news and updates are posted.

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