Skip to main content
Marissa Cetin
13 February 2024, 15:43

US visa petition fees for international touring musicians to increase by over 120%

The petition cost of O and P visas for artists and other "extraordinary" talent will hit more than $1,000 for the first time

US visa petition fees for international touring musicians to increase by over 120%

US visa fees are set to increase this year, affecting international touring artists hoping to work in the States. 

From April 1st, the cost of petition-based O and P visas will hit more than $1,000 for the first time. Petition fees for the former, which allows for "extraordinary" talent in business, entertainment, sports, the arts and their staff to work in the US for up to three years, will increase 129%, from $460 to $1,055, Resident Advisor reports. Costs for the latter, which apply for shorter time frames, will increase 121%, from $460 to $1,015. 

While the bottom line increase is significant, the proposed 2023 changes initially planned to jump fees by a further $600, or 250% total. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) delayed the controversial change in fees in July as the plans were met with serious pushback as it "pose[d] a severe economic and cultural threat to independent live entertainment in the U.S.", according to a National Independent Venue Association executive.

This will be the first increase in visa fees since 2016, according to the USCIS. The agency said the changes will "recover its operating costs more fully and support timely processing of new applications". "Unlike many other federal agencies, we are almost entirely fee-funded", the USCIS said. "Approximately 96% of our funding is from filing fees, and only about 4% is from congressional appropriations."

There will also be a new Asylum Program Fee of $600 for sponsoring employers filing the I-129 form (a requirement for O and P visas). Smaller companies (25 or fewer full-time employees) will pay half the fee, $300, and non-profits do not have to pay it at all. Non-profits and smaller employers will pay 50% of the I-129 fee. 

Expedited processing fees for faster application responses will increase from $2,500 to $2,805 on 26th February. This comes as the premium processing window expands from 15 days to 15 business days, according to RA. 

See the full breakdown of the visa fee changes via the USCIS website.

These fee hikes come as artists are speaking out about the viability of touring. In 2022, the multi-award winning breakout Little Simz publicly cancelled her North American tour citing the "huge deficit" of touring costs.