US Delays Draconian Visa Fees
Jul 25, 2023
The US Department of Homeland Security, a notoriously bureaucratic agency created by the Bush administration after 9/11, has agreed to delay the massive increase in visa fees for touring musicians, DJs, and others. Citing overwhelming demand and staff shortages, the department had planned to implement changes in the fee structure that could more than triple the costs for artists to perform legally in the U.S.
The DHS budget is over $100bn, and one thing both political parties in the US seem to agree on is that the department is wasteful (with government audits admitting to waste and mismanagement). Pinning extra fees on musicians (who are already routinely ripped off by streaming services and nearly every entity in the business) to combat its own shortcomings is particularly egregious.
The performers and venues have won the first battle. The agency has decided to delay implementation of the fee increase until March 2024. Among the groups fighting the proposal are Music Managers Forum, Featured Artists Coalition, and the National Independent Venue Association.