Photo courtesy of Boomerang Carnets.

“Much of the performing arts business was already in a defensive crouch when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a proposal earlier this year to more than double fees for visa applications,” reports Anastasia Tsioulcas in Monday’s (3/28) National Public Radio. “USCIS is also proposing an increase in the number of applications that would have to be filed. For example, a big orchestra or ballet company currently files only one application [for] all of its members and staff on tour. Under the increase, you’d have to file one for every 25 people in the group. So an orchestra of 100 musicians, plus some staffers, would be required to file five separate petitions … For [an] orchestra, those increased USCIS fees would skyrocket from $460 to over $8,000. These changes would affect organizations across the spectrum … ‘The problem also goes to scale. So with multiple artists engaged, for instance, in a local arts festival, this fee could make the difference in being able to afford to present those artists or not,’ says Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy with the League of American Orchestras. The League is one of the groups asking USCIS to reconsider the price hikes…. The proposed changes could go into effect later this year.” For background on the U.S. artist visa process, please see the League’s dedicated Artists from Abroad website, where news and updates are posted.