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US finalises steep increases in artist visa fees

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finalised its proposal to impose steep increases to some of its filing fees, including for O and P artist visa applications filed by the country’s nonprofit arts organisations.

Foreign guest artists engaged by US arts-related organisations are required to obtain an O visa for individual foreign artists, or a P visa for groups of foreign artists, individual entertainers joining US-based internationally recognized entertainment groups, reciprocal exchange programs, and culturally unique artists.

Filing fees for O visa petitions will increase by 53% from US$460 to $705 per petition and P visa petitions will increase by 51% from $460 to $695 per petition.

The changes, which were proposed in December, are due to take effect from 2 October this year.

“The US should be easing—not increasing—the visa burden for nonprofit arts organisations engaging foreign guest artists”

A number of US nonprofit arts organisations wrote to DHS in December to dispute the changes, saying: “Arts organisations and artists provide an important public service and advance international diplomacy by presenting foreign guest artists in highly valued performances, educational events, and cultural programs in communities large and small throughout the United States.

“International cultural exchange uniquely supports a diversity of viewpoints and contributes to international peace and mutual understanding. Inviting foreign artists to perform in the US enables American audiences to experience a diversity of artistic talent and encourages a supportive climate for US artists to perform abroad.”

“The United States should be easing—not increasing—the visa burden for nonprofit arts organisations engaging foreign guest artists so that US audiences can enjoy artistry from across the globe.”

The new changes will also see the total number of individuals on a single petition capped at 25, which will require numerous petitions for larger ensembles.

Additionally, the Premium Processing Service, which costs $1,440, will now take longer, increasing from 15 calendar days to 15 business days (which means federal working days) in order to complete processing.


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