November 4, 2016 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a substantial increase in I-129 filing fees. This is a source of concern for touring artists and for presenters alike.
The new processing fee for all class P and O visas will be $460USD – a 42% increase compared to the current fee of $325USD. It is effective for petitions postmarked on or after December 23, 2016.
Premium processing fee will remain at $1,225USD.
The processing delay alert remains in effect. The Canadian Federation of Musician advises applicants to submit their P2 package at least 120 calendar days prior to first performance, due to USCIS processing backlog. For premium processing, applicants should submit their package 30 days prior to the first performance.
This fee increase and the ongoing delays at USCIS are a source of concern for all Canadian artists touring in the U.S. They also pose a treath to Canadian presenters booking foreign artists.
Canada is part of an interdependent North American market when it comes international tours. Indeed, many overseas artists visit both Canada and the U.S. within the same tour. Consequently, the more administrative barriers in either Canada and the U.S., the less attractive the North American market becomes for artists from other continents. Canada has a particularly cumbersome non-resident taxation regime. The U.S. have an onerous work permit administration, and is expected to also become more stringent with taxation. When touring in North America becomes too painful, Canadian presenters must either pay higher fees or miss out on opportunities to bring amazing international artists in their community.
CAPACOA has been leading the advocacy efforts of the Performing Arts Tax Working Group to streamline non-resident taxation in Canada. We are thankful to APAP, the League of American Orchestras and other members of the US Performing Arts Visa Working Group for their own advocacy work south of the border. We are also thankful to the Canadian Independent Music Association and the Canadian Federation of Musicians for keeping a close watch over U.S. visa processing issues.
Collectively, we can work with governments reduce the barriers that deprive our audiences from enriching international cultural experiences.
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