Call to Action: Submit Your Comments Against the Proposed P&O Visa Hikes

Posted on
March 2, 2023

CIMA urges our members & their artists to share the following information within their networks and with their colleagues in the United States! The deadline to submit feedback has now been extended until MARCH 13!

The Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. is proposing a drastic increase to P- & O- type visas. This would prove devastating for working performers across all disciplines, from live music, to theatre, dance and orchestras.

Why are the proposed U.S. visa hikes dangerous for touring bands & musicians?

  • The base visa fees would see an increase of up to 260% - from $460 USD to $1655 USD.
  • This will be prohibitive for artists from around the world, not just Canadians.

Visa applications are unaffordable, complicated, & consistently backlogged by U.S. Homeland Security.

This hike would see P- and O- type visa costs escalate by up to 260% on an already inefficient and unfair process. 

The result? Your favourite artists from across the world would not be able to perform at festivals, venues, and other gigs in the U.S. This includes artists from Canada, Australia, the UK, Italy, France, Ireland and more.

For just one gig, a band is on the hook for:

  • Base visa fee: $1655 USD
  • Union membership fees: approx.. $170 CAD per musicians, with cost variance by local
  • Expediting fee: $2500 USD

The proposed increases each include a $600 surcharge to fund the US’s asylum processing. Processing time would also change from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, adding another layer of difficulty.

CIMA has long sought reciprocity at the border to nurture the symbiotic relationship between emerging Canadian and American working musicians. Co-touring is common for cross-border music discovery and generates significant economic impact at each stop.

A 20-date tour by one emerging Canadian band playing small clubs can generate up to $427k in tourism dollars for the USA, and earnings from fees and merch sold are also already subject to U.S. taxation. 

Working bands are pulling their weight!

CALL TO ACTION FOR CANADIANS: You have many contacts in the U.S. who could lend their support on this issue! Canadian businesses may also submit comments, so don’t forget to participate in the process! Think of festivals you’ve played, artists you’ve toured with, associations, labels, managers, venues, publicists, marketers, photographers, and other suppliers you’ve worked with; ask them to submit their comments opposing the proposed visa fee increases to the Federal Register.

CALL TO ACTION FOR AMERICANS: Please submit comments opposing the proposed visa fee increases to the Federal Register. They are looking to hear from American citizens and businesses. We suggest you not send the same comment as anyone else, as their system will weed out and discard identical comments.

Canadians & Americans can comment at before March 13!

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