Over the years, obtaining visas for foreign artists has continually become more difficult, but never as much as when the Covid pandemic hit in 2020. Artist Visa Services aims to make the visa application process as easy and simple as possible. The first step is to discern if the artist qualifies for a visa and which classification is appropriate. These visa classifications are all employment-based, so contracts must be in place before a petition can be undertaken. After obtaining personal information and documents from the artist to complete the USCIS's I-129 petition for nonimmigrant worker, Artist Visa Services compiles compelling evidence as dictated by USCIS guidelines to demonstrate the artist's qualifications in their field. The draft application is sent to the designated labor union for a required consultation letter before it is submitted to USCIS for adjudication. Once an approval is acquired, the artist completes the online DS-160 application and schedules an appointment at their local US consulate to have the visa processed into their passport.
Artist Visa Services advises visa applications be initiated at least 4 months prior to the artist's arrival in the US; any later and Premium Processing may be necessary, which involves an additional fee of $2,500 fee for a guaranteed decision within 15 calendar days. Regular processing can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 2 months or longer, and consulate appointments have a waiting period of up to one year, in which case an expedited appointment must be requested. For that reason in particular, initiating the application process as early as possible is essential to giving the best chances for a successful result.
Artist Visa Services is committed to making the visa process affordable for small to mid-sized US arts organizations as well as foreign artists who must procure their own US work permit. Fees quoted include all costs and fees associated with the USCIS application process, leaving only the consulate fees left to be paid by the presenter and/or artist, and Premium Processing if necessary.
This visa classification is for individual artists of extraordinary ability. Evidence must be submitted proving the artist's leading roles in successful productions, engagements with prominent organizations, and international critical acclaim. This visa classification can be obtained for up to 3 years if contracts have been procured and significant gaps between engagements do not exist.
This visa classification is for internationally-recognized ensembles. Evidence must be submitted that the ensemble is internationally acclaimed, and that at least 75% of the members have had a sustained and significant relationship with the ensemble for at least 1 year. This visa classification can be obtained for up to 1 year and artists may only perform with the approved ensemble while in the US on that visa.
*for up to 20 members; each additional member adds $25
This visa classification is for artists presenting culturally unique performances. Evidence must be submitted to prove the US performance is culturally unique and demonstrate the artist's specialized experience in traditional art forms. This visa classification can be obtained for up to 1 year.
These visa classifications are for support personnel such as accompanying musicians, musical and/or production assistants, and tour managers. Evidence must be submitted to prove the past working relationship with the primary visa holder and the support person's unique qualifications to perform the supporting duties. These classifications should match the validity period of the primary visa holder.