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U.S. Government Makes Final Ruling On Artist Visa Fees, Prices To Rise As Much As 129 Percent

The U.S. government is increasing the price of touring visas for traveling musicians by as much as 129 percent.

Beginning April 1, 2024, application fees for an O visa, which permits DJs and other musicians to stay and work in the U.S. for three years, will rise from $460 to $1,055. P visas, designated for short-term stays that typically revolve around a specific event, will jump in price from $460 to $1,015, a 121 percent increase.

Both price hikes are less than originally planned. In February 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that O and P visa fees would increase by as much as 250 percent, from $460 to $1,655 and $1,615, respectively.

In response, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) wrote an open letter to USCIS, sharing concerns that the new visa rates would hurt touring in the United States. This was enough to persuade USCIS to delay their final rulemaking on the matter until now.

At the time, Florida Congressman Maxwell Frost called the reassessment “the right move to support our nation’s small business community and for the hundreds of thousands of traveling artists who are a critical part of our local economy.”

USCIS’ amended plan for visa price increases also requires small employers with 25 or fewer employees to pay an additional $300 Asylum Program Fee. The same fee for teams with more than 25 employees will cost $600. 

Additional fees for expedited visa processing will rise from $2,500 to $2,805 per application on February 26, 2024. Expedited visa processing timelines will change from an estimated 15 calendar days to 15 business days.

Announced last week, the changes mark the first time artist visa costs have increased since 2016. On its website, USCIS says the increased fees are necessary “to cover the cost of doing business and avoid the accumulation of future backlogs.

For more information on the new visa rates, visit the official USCIS website.

Featured image from Unsplash.com.

Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University with a passion for culture and fat basslines.

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