What is happening?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a proposed rule that would impose very steep increases to some of its filing fees, including for O and P artist visas applications filed by U.S. petitioners. The comment period is open until March 6, 2023, after which DHS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) anticipate taking several months to review public feedback and consider adjustments. The proposed rule would revive and worsen many elements from a 2019 DHS proposal that was ultimately enjoined and prevented from going into effect.
This new rule proposes:
Filing fees for regularly-processed O visa petitions would increase by 260% from $460 to $1,655 per petition (this would include a $600 surcharge to fund the Asylum Program Fee).
Filing fees for regularly-processed P visa petitions would increase by 251% from $460 to $1,615 per petition (this would include a $600 surcharge to fund the Asylum Program Fee).
The total number of individuals on a single petition, including O and P arts petitions, would be capped at 25 beneficiaries. This would require numerous petitions for larger groups. For example, a visiting ballet company comprising 110 dancers, plus a handful of accompanying support staff would require 6 visa petitions rather than 2.
The Premium Processing Service (unaffordable to most organisations at a current cost of $2,500) would take longer with USCIS redefining the timeframe from 15 calendar days to 15 business days (federal working days) in order to complete processing. As this fee was very recently increased, it is disappointing that proposed processing times would lengthen–decreasing efficiency–and fail to provide improvements after this additional funding has been realised.
Join the call
Dutch Music Export invites all Netherlands-based organized organisations, to join a call to the European Commission to support the European cultural sector and reach out to the US administration regarding a proposal by the US Department of Homeland Security to raise fees on visas, including for artists, and add layers of administrative burdens.
Please find herewith a letter that Pearle Live Performance Europe initiated to send on behalf of numerous cultural associations and organisations to the Commission to raise awareness about the issue, to address our concerns and to call for their support. Feel free to forward this invitation to other contacts. The deadline to sign up for the call is Friday 24 February, 5pm CET
Add your comments
Should you wish to provide comments on behalf of your organisation to the proposal, please do so through the Federal Register portal, by the deadline of March 6, 2023.