Canadian Federation of Musicians Responds to Increased U.S. Performance Permit Fees

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"A fee surge of this kind adds an additional and unacceptable financial burden on our members."

Professional Canadian musicians will soon be hit with a 42 percent increase in performance permit fees, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced. Despite opposition to the increase, the fee will rise from $325 USD to $460 USD ($435 CAD to $615 CAD), effective Dec. 20, 2016.

The increase is to all classifications of U.S. temporary work permits for “artists, entertainers and athletes” from all over the world. However, Canadians, after approved for the permit, do not have to be pre-cleared through a consulate and pay additional fees like they do from other countries, Liana White, executive director at Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM), clarified to Billboard.

Canadians filing for these authorizations typically take less time to process at the USCIS-adjudication end, she added.

"While we recognize that for Canadians the USCIS artist visa process may be more simplified than other musicians seeking to enter the United States under the same permits, however, a fee surge of this kind adds an additional and unacceptable financial burden on our members," White said in the press statement.

A meeting with USCIS and its recognized stakeholders in the U.S. nonprofit arts sector is scheduled for Nov. 2.  

“The position and arguments of the AFM/CFM and the arts coalition will urge USCIS to respond to its current lack of quality in service, and to press for vast improvements and consistency in processing times -- especially now considering the substantial fee hikes,” according to the press statement released by the CFM.

In the interim, AFM/CFM is recommending P2 applications made by Canadian performers seeking access to the U.S. be received by their office no later than Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.  Applications received on or after Dec. 20, 2016 will be subject to the new fee.

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada has 200 offices across the United States and Canada, representing a total membership of about 85,000 professional musicians. The AFM/CFM has been representing the interests of professional U.S. and Canadian musicians for 120 years in a broad range of collective bargaining and legislative actions. 

For more information on the CFM's lobbying initiatives to improve access to the U.S., or the AFM's role as a petitioner of artist permits, CFM members are invited to contact the head office in Toronto at 1-800-463-6333 or email afmcan@afm.org