Getting a U.S. artist visa is a multi-step process, and how long the entire process takes depends mainly on how quickly you can gather the required documentation and whether you are willing to pay the government’s $1440 “Premium Processing” expediting fee. The general timeline is as follows:
- You work with one of our case managers to assemble a petition that we file with the U.S. immigration service (USCIS) here in the U.S. The purpose of the petition is to show that 1) The artist has the required renown, which we demonstrate with press, testimonial letters, evidence of impressive past and future performances, and other evidence of critical and/or commercial “achievements”; and 2) The artist has contracted work in the U.S. Working together with the artist and their staff, this phase of the process can take anywhere from a week to a month or longer.
- We seek a consultation letter from a U.S. labor organization stating that they don’t object to the approval of the petition. This typically takes between two days and two weeks, depending on whether you pay the union’s expediting fee.
- We file the petition with USCIS. Premium Processing guarantees a response within 15 calendar days; however, there is always a small chance USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE), in which case the 15-calendar-day clock would reset once they receive our response to the RFE. If you don’t use Premium Processing, USCIS regular processing is currently taking anywhere between two weeks and two months, on average, but there is no guarantee.
- Once USCIS has approved the petition, the artist will then need to complete a visa interview at their local U.S. embassy or consulate and get the visa stamped in their passport. This part of the process typically takes 1-2 weeks, but it can take longer if, for example, the individual has a criminal record.
If you know that you want to begin this process, please contact Will Spitz at intake.PA@covey.law
and he will introduce you to your attorney and case manager, and assign you an artist code which you will need to start the process.