Homeland Security Wants to Jack Up Visas for International Artists By More than 250%
Things could get even harder for international artists and bands looking to tour the U.S., thanks to a pair of massive fee increases for working visas if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gets its way.
In the DHS’ written proposal, both the O visa and the P visa would be affected. The O visa is for longer-term work within the U.S., while the P visa is for more temporary work visits. If approved, the former’s costs would go from $460 to $1,655, while the latter visa option would go from $460 to $1,615, marking a 260% and 251% increase, respectively.
DHS officials say the increases are necessary to handle a growing demand for the visas coupled with the fact that they’re understaffed in the Citizenship and Immigration department. The increases also include a $600 fee to help fund the country’s asylum program.
The DHS is suggesting that each visa be limited to just 25 people each. Any more than that and you’re going to have to fill out and pay for a second application. While this may sound reasonable to some, it’s important to note that many of today’s legacy bands employ way more than 25 people.
It’s important to note that this affects every band looking to make their way stateside, including those from Canada and Mexico. Not only that, but the DHS expects longer processing times for visas moving forward, though they’ll happily charge you an additional $2,500 to get premium processing, which currently takes 15 calendar days.
This isn’t the first time the DHS has tried to increase the prices associated with these visas. Back in 2020, they wanted to raise fees by 50%, but that never happened. The last time artist visa fees increased was back in 2016.
We’ve already seen so many bands cancel their upcoming tours due to the fact that they’re not financially viable. These guys, gals, and non-binary pals deserve to make some money for their effort and skills, given how much goes into each performance. By charging exorbitantly for these visas, politicians are potentially hobbling the music industry moving forward.
If you want to let the government know how much of a stupid fucking idea this is, be sure to his the Federal Registry. It may not be much, but at least we’ve gotta show out and let our displeasure known.