Musicians Union Applauds Introduction of the ARTS Act


February 10, 2016

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) applauded the introduction of federal legislation to streamline the visa process for musicians and other artists traveling to the U.S.

Currently the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is instructed to process arts-related O and P visas in 14 days. Unfortunately many artists have encountered outrageous delays—with some visas taking six months.

The Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), would reduce waiting times by requiring USCIS to treat as a premium processing case (15-day turn around), free of additional charge, any nonprofit arts-related O and P visa petitions that it fails to adjudicate within 14 days.

“I want to thank Senators Hatch and Leahy for their commitment to the arts and for their leadership on this issue. Unfortunately, many Canadian musicians have suffered economically from gig cancellation and job loss in the U.S. because of bureaucratic backlogs, despite current law. The ARTS Act will help musicians by repairing our broken visa system,” said AFM International President Ray Hair. 

AFM has been working with a broad group of organizations including the League of American Orchestras, Performing Arts Alliance, and The Recording Academy to improve the visa process for some time.

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