The US government has halted plan to dramatically increase the cost of touring visas, after announcing plans to hike up the price by 250% for foreign artists in January.
Consequence of Sound reported earlier this month that The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made plans to delay visa rate hikes for fear of the negative effect it would have on touring in the US.
In January, it was announced that both P and O visas, which are used by touring musicians for short-term stays in the US costing $460 each, would surge in price to $1,615 and $1,655 respectively.
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Artists feared that the price surge would “make touring impossible” in the US, some of whom pulled out from US tours as a result. Fans and musicians were encouraged to oppose the move on the Federal Register website and the Featured Artists Coalition.
Speaking to NME in February, Leicester band Easy Life explained that they had to cancel their US tour because of “insane costs”, calling it a “bleak” time for the industry.
Congressman Maxwell Frost of Florida spoke out on the decision, explaining that halting surge prices would help support small businesses and the local economy.
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“USCIS’s decision to delay their proposed rate hikes and go back to the drawing board is the right move to support our nation’s small business community and for the hundreds of thousands of travelling artists who are a critical part of our local economy,” he said.
Executive Director of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), Stephen Parler, said via Consequence of Sound that the proposed visa fee surge “undermines the vital role these performers play on our stage.”
“USCIS proposal to drastically increase visa fees for international performers poses a severe economic and cultural threat to independent live entertainment in the U.S,” he said.
[Via Consequence of Sound]
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins