US proposing rule changes that would hike touring visa costs for foreign musicians by 250 per cent

The increases are needed due to high demand and insufficient staff at the Citizenship and Immigration department

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to raise touring visa fees for foreign acts by more than 250 per cent.

DHS has written in its proposal that applications for a P visa, which is for acts arriving in the US to perform temporarily, would increase from the current rate of $460 (£375.23) to $1,615 (£1,317).

The O visa, which is a longer term work visa, would jump from $460 (£375.23) to $1,655 (£1,349).


Both increases include a $600 (£489) surcharge to fund the US government’s asylum program.

The proposed hike for the O visa puts it at a 260 per cent jump. The fee for P visa, meanwhile, marks a 251 per cent increase.

Tamara Lindemann of The Weather Station
Tamara Lindemann of The Weather Station. CREDIT: CBS This Morning (via YouTube).

According to the DHS, the increases are needed due to high demand and insufficient staff at the Citizenship and Immigration department.

Some Canadian acts have spoken out against the proposed changes, citing it being “a huge hardship to pay such high visa fees”.

The Weather Station‘s Tamara Lindeman said on Twitter: “If you are a US citizen or Organisation, please make an official comment on this – instructions below – For context we already spend thousands of dollars just on visas to enter the US; it’s the only country we tour to with these prohibitive visa costs.”


Lindeman wrote in a subsequent tweet: “It’s a huge hardship to pay such high visa fees, in addition to a 30% withholding tax when we play in the US. It is hard enough to make money on tour as it is.”

In an email to Stereogum, Tom McGreevy of Ducks Ltd. said: “This is a pretty big deal for bands from other countries, as it’s a significant burden on newer bands especially, but is also something that would impact American audiences in a significant way, as it’s going to discourage an awful lot of bands from touring and taking the first steps in building an audience here.”

Additionally, DHS recommends limiting each visa application to a maximum of 25 individuals. If the number of people in a group exceed that number, a separate application will be required.

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice. CREDIT: Jenn Five

Elsewhere in the documents, DHS said that longer timeframes for premium processing should be considered. The service, priced at $2,500 (£2,039), currently takes 15 calendar days but a suggestion has been made for it to be reduced to 15 business days.

In 2020, DHS proposed increasing fees by 50 per cent and other measures but those changes never went into effect. The last time artist visa fees rose was in 2016.

US citizens who wish to comment on the proposed changes can do so via the Federal Registry here.

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