Artist Visas are set to skyrocket for foreign artists looking to visit the USA for work. From October the 2nd, artist visas will rise by 50% or more compared to the current Visa fees. Is this another nail in the coffin for the live industry? What does the USA have against foreign artists coming to visit “The Land of The Free”?
Artist Visa Price Hike
Under the Trump administration, the cost of obtaining artist visas has risen dramatically. As a consequence, it’s become difficult for foreign artists to legally tour the USA and turn a profit. Clearly, at the time of writing touring is something of a distant memory for all of us. None the less, it would be nice if barriers to touring for musicians were being reduced rather than being strengthened.
Back in 2016, a whopping 42% increase in artist visa fees was announced, taking the cost from $325 per person up to $465. According to a piece on Musictech.net the fee is now set to rise by an additional 50%. So what does that mean if you’re planning a tour to the USA from a European country? Well, here’s the shocking figures for you and believe us, it makes for sobering reading…
In order to enter the USA legally, you’ll need what’s called an O-1 Visa. The O-1 Visa covers you as an artist looking to enter the USA temporarily as a performer and is issued on a per-performer basis. Importantly the cost of an O-1 Visa will now increase from $460 to $705 per person, an increase of over 50%. Altogether, for a four a four-piece band, you’d be looking at a visa bill of $2820 for your band to enter the country.
An end to Foreign Artist Tours in the USA?
Undoubtedly, we have to ask the question: “Who can afford to tour the USA nowadays?”. For A-List, stadium level acts, it’s unlikely these figures will affect them greatly; however, for grass-roots and mid-level acts this is devastating news.
Many younger acts get their break touring the USA as a support act for bigger artists. Touring budgets were already extremely tight and with these new visa fees it could spell the end of mid-level European acts touring the USA.
We can’t help but feel that this is an isolationist example of Trump administration policy. The arts should be capable of breaking down barriers between us, but it seems yet another wall is being built between people.
Are you a musician or live music pro from outside the US? Will the artist visa price rise affect your intention to tour the USA any time soon? Let us know below!