Dear APAP Members and Colleagues,

By now, you may have heard about the steep visa fee increases being proposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including those for O and P artist visas filed by U.S. petitioners.

In response, joint comments are being prepared by national performing arts leadership organizations (including APAP), pointing out the severe economic harm these proposals would inflict upon a sector that is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19.

Members of the public are also invited to respond. At this critical moment, we urge YOU to let your voice be heard! This is an important time for arts stakeholders to speak up to describe the artistic and economic impact of these fee increases.

Please submit your comments during the public comment period, which ends on March 6, 2023, after which DHS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) anticipate taking several months to review public feedback and consider adjustments.
When submitting your comments, it's most important that you tell your personal story and the specific impacts the proposed fee increases will have on your work, business, and livelihood, so that USCIS can better understand the performing arts sector.

For instance, artists might include:

  • What would be at stake - financially, artistically/programmatically, operationally?
  • Describe how international activity supports your artistry, career
  • Describe the impact that increased costs will have on performance opportunities, particularly given ongoing recovery from the pandemic

And organizations/agents/venues might include:

  • What kinds of artists do you engage or represent?
  • What would be at stake - financially, artistically/programmatically, operationally?
  • Would entire performances be canceled if you had to file fewer or no visas at all in a season? What would that cost? 
  • What does it cost when an already-planned program has to be canceled, rescheduled, or a last-minute substitution be made due to unresolved visa snafus?
  • How much money do you budget for filing fees and occasionally engaging legal assistance for filing visa petitions? 
  • What percent of your overall artistic budget does this represent and what percent is this compared to your overall operating budget?
  • USCIS is asking for feedback on their assumptions around our ability to pay - what kind of data can you provide that would refute their calculations, which look at total budget or sales revenue?
  • What are the enduring financial and programmatic impacts of COVID-19 on your organization or business? USCIS has detailed its own impacts and cuts to justify increasing fees. What can you share in return?

Comments can be filed online through the Federal Register portal by the deadline of March 6, 2023.

We recommend you also forward a copy of your comments to your U.S. Senators and member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Find your representatives' contact information here.

We are stronger together.

The APAP Team