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US to Increase Visa Fees for Foreign Performers

MIAMI - JULY 2: MIAMI - JULY 2: U.S. Immigration inspectors check passports July 2, 2002 at Miami International Airport in Miami, Forida. Inspectors are using the new multi-agency DataShare database which inspectors use to view not only biographic information but also pictures of visa holders. At more than 300 ports of entry across the U.S. the new system is being used for visa holders who receive their documents at consular posts around the world. While information on immigrant visas has been available through DataShare since 1995, information on temporary visitors, or non-immigrants, has been widely available on DataShare only since January of this year. The addition of non-immigrant information to the DataShare system was put on a fast-track immediately following the September terrorist attacks. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In what’s bound to kick off a new round of coronavirus conspiracy theories, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced a huge increase in visa fees for overseas artists who tour America.

The fee for an “O” visa, which is issued to “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement,” will rise from $460 to $705, a 53 percent increase, the agency has revealed. The cost of a “P” visa, which is given to “culturally unique” artists, will increase from $460 to $695, a 51 percent jump. The agency says the increases are necessary to cover the cost of “providing adjudication and naturalization services.”

Needless to say, many entertainment lawyers aren’t on board with the increases. Attorney Matthew Covey says visa regulations have “become so arbitrary and onerous, that most arts institutions have been forced to hire attorneys to manage the process for them. As such, presenting performing artists in the U.S. now comes with massive legal costs which are — in our opinion — a catastrophic financial impediment to cultural exchange.”

If an act is big enough to tour the U.S., will an extra couple hundred dollars even be missed? Would a modern rock star even survive without a legal team?

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