Saturday, April 13, 2024

Increased Artist Visa Fees Impact: A Massive Blow To African Artists

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The increased artist visa fees impact has significantly impacted African performing artists striving to recover from the pandemic’s adverse effects on their musical careers and regular tour trips.

As if contending with the challenges brought about by the global health crisis wasn’t enough, the U.S. government has administered a double blow by raising O & P visa fees, adding to the hurdles already faced. These fee hikes compound the difficulties for artists grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic, further limiting their opportunities and exacerbating the strain on their professional pursuits.

Additionally, these actions come on the heels of controversial restrictions imposed on diversity visas, compounding the challenges faced by the international artistic community.

O & P visas cater for the period an artist and his music crew would spend working in the U.S. The O visa covers individuals with unique skills or attainment, and the P visa caters to culturally inclined individuals.

Increase In Visa Fee May Trigger Ripple Effect

Many opine that these visa fee changes could worsen the situation for struggling foreign tour artists, who already find it difficult to ply their trade overseas.  

The Citizenship & Immigration Division of the Homeland Security Department in the U.S. claims that various factors influenced its decision to increase fees for O & P visas. According to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, the increasing cost of naturalization services would become harder to manage in the face of significant revenue loss caused by the pandemic.

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As a result, increasing visa fees might be the only way for the USCIS to recover the full cost of maintaining these services.

The first proposal for an increase in visa fees dates back to November 2019, some months before the dreaded pandemic, and this question alleges that the epidemic influenced the new fee price.

As recorded in the Federal Register, O & P visas would experience over 50% fee hikes.

Formerly, at a standard fee of $460, the O visa would increase to $705, while the P visa would increase to $695. 

The new USCIS regulations also influence the processing time and the number of people these visas cover. Instead of 15 consecutive days, the current processing visa period would be 15 working days. All O & P visa fee changes will take effect in October 2024.

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How Does This Affect African Artists?

However, the question that begs for answers is, ‘What would be the fate of African artists?’

Indeed, the fee increase would affect the musical career of every African artist. Multiple visas would be required for a large music crew of more than 25 people, and the frequency of planned tour trips would also be affected by the increased cost.

Up-and-coming artists attending unpaid festivals or tours might have to cancel plans. Although these festivals and regular tours place them on a global pedestal, the cost of affording them might ruin their career before it begins. 

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