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Nigerian Artistes to Pay Up to $1,655 as US Touring Visa Fees Go Up by 250%

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented a 250 percent increase in visa fees for international artists seeking to tour in the United States.

On April 1, the visa price jumped from $460 to $1,615 or $1,655, as reported by AP News.

If an artist wants to bring supporting personnel, a backup band, or other employees on tour, they must also get visas.

Bands and ensembles pay per performer. If performers cannot wait a few months for clearance, they must pay an additional $2,805 per application for expedited processing.

“A basic rock band with four musicians went from paying $1,840 to about $6,460. And if you can’t wait a few months for approval, pay $2,805 per application for expedited processing,” the news outlet said.

If the application is rejected, the money will not be refunded.

Gabriel Castro, an immigration attorney, stated that all international artists require work authorization to perform in the United States.

He did, however, state that there are a few exceptions for “showcases through the Visa Waiver Program,” in which international artists perform exclusively at official events, without pay and for exposure.

“Even if you are Capitol Records and you have all the money in the world to throw at it, you still can’t get rid of US bureaucracy,” he went on to say.

According to Castro, the US government is “putting more and more burden on the application process”.

The attorney stated that twenty years ago, applications were only two or three pages. He did, however, mention that they are now 15 to 20 pages lengthy.

“And those are just the forms before supporting evidence,” he went on to say.

“Now I am submitting documents that are 200 pages, 300 pages long just to explain why this band should be traveling throughout the United States.”

He stated that the application process may have evolved over time to “account for system abuses and to ensure that individuals who come here for specific activities actually have those activities in place.”

Castro explained that the enhanced monitoring is a result of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

In contrast, US artists can enter most nations without a visa and are exempt from tourism regulations.

The last increase in US immigration fees occurred in 2016, when they were raised from $325 to $460.

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