The AFM strongly opposes increasing O & P Visa fees as proposed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS is very short-sighted in its proposal, as imposing such increases will vastly limit international touring and arts collaborations.
In a letter sent February 8, 2023 to Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Committee, AFM President Ray Hair has asked the USCIS to reconsider the increase in visa fees, which would irreparably damage local, state, and federal investment in the US arts and entertainment business.
- The increases proposed are upwards of 251%. And the proposal also includes a surcharge of $600 per petition to fund the Asylum Program Fee.
- International artists are engaged throughout the arts and entertainment industry, which is still itself recovering from the effects of COVID-19. Most of these entities do not, in fact, have the ability to pay these proposed fees, nor do the foreign artists engaged.
- Drastic fee increases will stifle international cultural activity and have a negative economic ripple effect on communities supported by arts events.
- Music is collaborative in nature, providing US artists with the ability to connect with international artists, who in turn provide those US artists with access to markets abroad.
- International touring artists contribute to the US economy in the way of filling venues, booking hotels, and the many other costs associated with a tour. They also pay US Federal and State Taxes on their performance earnings.
If these increases are realized, they will also negatively impact dancers, actors, athletes, visual artists, and many others working in the various artistic disciplines.
You can enter opposition comments online through the US Federal Register Portal. Deadline for comments is March 6, 2023.