Work Permits

Jump to: Performing in Canada for Musicians from the U.S. and Abroad
Jump to: Updates on Crossing the U.S. Border
Jump to: P1, P3 and O Work Permits 
U.S. Work Permits for Canadian Musicians

The application package may be sent to the office by courier or priority-post, or dropped off in person. All paperwork is carefully reviewed during the process of preparing the formal P2 petition on the artist’s behalf.

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) is recognized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an authorized petitioner for P2 work permits on behalf of AFM members, and their support personnel.  

While the AFM provides consulting services to all musicians, the P2 Work Permit is a member-specific service.


The P2 Work Permit

For most musical work in the United States, musicians require a Classification P2 Work Permit, or other non-immigrant permit. Also seeB1 Business class Visitor Visa, below.

Processing Times and US Immigration Fees

For Regular Processing it is recommended you submit your P2 package 90 calendar days prior first gig. Provide a $510 USD money order, payable to "Department of Homeland Security". (Starting April 1st. US Immigration is increasing the fee from $460 USD to $510 USD. P2 submissions received by CFM office March 22nd or later need to provide the updated fee of $510 USD)

For Premium Processing it is recommended you submit your P2 package 30 days prior to your first gig. Provide 2 separate money orders in the amount of $510 USD, the other $2,805 USD, both payable to "Department of Homeland Security. (Starting April 1st. US Immigration is increasing the fee from $460 USD to $510 USD. P2 submissions received by CFM office March 22nd or later need to provide 2 money orders of $510 USD and $2,805 USD)

AFM Administrative Fee

Regular Processing is $125 CAD for the first person, plus $25 CAD for each additional musicians/technicians.

Premium Processing is $150 CAD for the first musician plus $25 CAD for each musicians/technicians.

When changing processing type from Regular Processing to Premium Processing a Change fee of $25 CAD is required. 

The P2 Replacement Letter fee is $50 CAD. 

For more details please email Liana White with questions on the Department of Homeland Security fee.

NOTE: AFM does not have control over the decisions U.S. Immigration makes on their processing times. Therefore, USCIS processing times may increase/decrease at any time, without notice. The AFM’s suggested processing timelines are based on weekly observance of the average turnaround time from submission of application to receipt of approval. You may contact our office to confirm times haven't drastically changed.

Forms and Instructions

We suggest DOWNLOADING/SAVING files below to your hard drive BEFORE filling them out.

P2 - Instructions for Completing a P2 Application

P2 - Checklist

P2 - Application Form (Parts 1 - 4)

P2 - Part 5 (Support Crew)

P2 - Part 6 (Single Performer)

P2 - Part 6 (2 or More Performers)

P2 - Tour Itinerary (Only Necessary When Performing at Multiple Venues)

P2 - Travel Engagement Contract (T2C FORM)

P2 – Permanent Resident Visa Process

P2 - Replacement Musician Application

P2 - After your P2 is Approved

If you are not yet an AFM member, or if you just joined AFM specifically to obtain a P2, please contact Cathy Lee at for additional information.

If you are an existing AFM member, please contact the P2 Department at, or by phone to Ari Vangeest at 416 391-5161 (toll free: 1 800 463-6333) ext. 234 and Melanie Hall at ext. 222. 


Electronic I-94 Departure Records 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection no longer issues paper I-94 Departure Records at air and sea ports of entry. Instead, the traveler's passport will be stamped with their Date of Entry, their visa classification and their Date of Exit (the date by which they must depart the United States). The I-94 information can then be accessed through an online portal and printed out.

Paper I-94 departure records will still be issued at land ports of entry.

Read more about this procedure here: I-94 Frequently Asked Questions


U.S. Foreign Entertainers with Criminal Records Entry to Canada 

If it has been less than five years since a charge or conviction, persons will be deemed “criminally inadmissible” to Canada and a Temporary Resident Permit is required instead of filing for a work permit (LMIA).  

If the person has been:

Charged but not convicted: Temporary Resident Permit is NOT required.

Charged & Awaiting Trial - or - Warrant for Arrest: Temporary Resident Permit is required, but may not be granted until AFTER the conclusion of the trial.

On Parole: Five years after the completion of the parole period, the person may apply for Rehabilitation (explained further below).

If the offence committed was DUI in most situations, especially when a minimum of five years has not elapsed, persons are not deemed admissible, meaning a Temporary Resident Permit is required.  To be certain, especially when there has been more than one DUI charge or if the accident was very serious (i.e. causing severe injury/death) a Canadian Consulate should be contacted as early as possible to ensure the Temporary Resident Permit is not necessary.

CLICK HERE for More Details on Temporary Resident Permits 


Crossing the Border with Musical Instruments and Gear

Musicians crossing the border with instruments and gear are encouraged to apply for an ATA Carnet, a document which enables professionals to bring the tools of their trade across borders easily and without hassle, duties or border fees. Learn more about ATA Carnets from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Canadian Chamber of Commerce - About the ATA Carnet or Information on US Customs and Border Protection.

In the absence of a Carnet, please prepare a manifest (list) of all instruments and gear, including serial numbers and make/model of instruments. If your instrument was purchased outside of Canada, bring the original bill of sale or include the following information on the manifest: the city, state/province, and country where the instrument was purchased.                                                                                                                                      ________________________________________________________________________________

Emergency Medical Travel Insurance

The CFM offers Emergency Medical Travel Insurance at preferred rates through our Discount Savings Program with Union Savings/RBC and CanAm/HUB International Insurance exclusive to members and their families. Please contact us at for more information.


B1 Business Class Visitor Visa

Canadians invited to the United States for showcases and conferences may qualify for a Business Visitor Visa (B-1 Visa).

For assistance in this determining B1 visa eligibility and/or to submit your application please contact:

Ari Vangeestavangeest@afm.orgor Susan Whitfieldswhitfield@afm.org416-391-5161 or toll free: 1 (800) 463-6333 ext. 234 or 223.

Download the B1 (Showcase) Application Packet

Processing Time at least 5 business days prior to entry date.

The Administration fee for B1 Letter of Support is $50 CAD.


P1, P3 and O Visa Applications  

Musicians from Canada and abroad applying for union consultation for P1, P3 and, O1 permits must contact the AFM’s New York Office: George Fiddler–,or Mike Epperhart–, 1 800 762 3444 ext. 231 or 230.

U.S. Work Permits for Canadian Musicians 


Performing in Canada for Musicians from the USA and Abroad

The Canadian government and the CFM (labour movement) are concerned about foreign workers being treated respectfully, paid fairly, and leaving our country better than when they came. To be able to monitor and inspect workplaces in Canada the government created the: Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, and the International Mobility Program.

The International Mobility Program is the program utilized by the performing arts sector.

Below are different scenarios and processes for the foreign artist.  Please review and use the appropriate process.

If a foreign artist is coming into Canada to work for 2 weeks or less, and working at many venues:

  • A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not required under the International Mobility Program
  • A work permit is not required when working in Canada for a “Time-limited engagement”
  • Proof of engagement is required upon entry into Canada
  • AFM members – are required to also present a cultural exchange letter from the CFM

If a foreign artist is coming into Canada for longer than 2 weeks, is an American citizen and an AFM member but working for various purchasers

If a foreign artist is entering into Canada for longer than 2 weeks, is an American citizen and working for one specific employer (including a Canadian based band):

  • Then the employer registers with the Canadian government on the Employer Portal , pays the fee of $230 per foreign artist, and obtain an Employer offer number and receipt of payment. 
  • The employer then provides the foreign artist with the employer offer number and the receipt of payment issued by the Employer Portal.  This document is shown to the border officers upon arrival at the Canadian border or airport, and allows the processing of the Canadian work permit.
  • CFM will process a Cultural Exchange Support Letter for musicians and crew.
  • The foreign artist presents these documents along with passport and contract(s) to officer at the border and an employer specific work permit is obtained.

If the foreign artist is coming into Canada for longer than 2 weeks, from a country outside of North America and is working for one specific employer, the following process applies;

A foreign artist performing with a Canadian orchestra will receive their Letter of Reciprocity through the employing Canadian orchestra.

For the most up-to date information about the International Mobility Program:

CFM/AFM forms Part One / Part Two

Live Engagement Contract for Canada

For information and assistance about performing in Canada, please contact:


The Administration fee for Cultural Exchange Letter is $50 CAD.


Guide and Tips for AFM Musicians Traveling with their Instruments

Click here for AFM Flying Guide in Canada, prepared by American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada to help musicians with air travel logistics, including a review of passenger rights, what to consider before purchasing your ticket, packing and caring for instruments, and problem solving. 

Click links below for baggage/special items information for major Canadian airlines:

Air Canada - Musical Instruments

WestJet - Special Items

Porter - Baggage Information

Bearskin Airlines - Baggage Policy

Below is other useful information for musicians flying with their instruments. If you are an AFM member please sign in or register on the AFM site for access to the following Links:

 The TSA Letter and Letter of Explanation
 Baggage info for all major airlines
 Travel Tips

For more information, contact:

George or Mike Epperhart–
Toll Free: 1 800 762-3444, ext. 231 or 230
Fax: 212 764-4974

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