performing artist visas/Documents we need from you (artist code access only)

Below is a list of most of the documents we will need from you. Please be careful to send all documents in the requested formats. If you have any problems, please let us know.

 

Regarding your Passport: 

US Government regulation requires that your passport be valid for a minimum of six months following the expiration of your requested visa. This means that if you’re applying for a one year visa to start in January, your passport needs to be valid through the July of the following year. There are exceptions to this rule, so if it poses a problem, please discuss this with us.

 

Important Update:

USCIS has recently significantly changed how they adjudicate artist’s visa petitions, so it’s more important than ever that we work together to assemble the best possible petition for you. Please bear with us because it’s going to take some getting used to!

 

And a word to the wise:

Feel free to start sending us documents immediately, but know that we typically cannot thoroughly evaluate the quality of incoming documents until we have received payment of your invoice. This means that if you send us documents which do not conform to the specifications below, we may not notice until after you pay us, which could lead to unexpected delays.

 

We need the following documents:

 

DOCUMENTS THAT EXPLAIN WHO YOU ARE and WHY YOU NEED TO BE IN THE U.S.:

 

CoveyLawPC RETAINER AGREEMENT: Please complete the this agreement with CoveyLawPC: DOWNLOAD. Complete all places that say “Artist Name” with the artist’s name, sign and date the bottom and send a scan back to us as a PDF.

 

MANAGEMENT LETTER: We need the artist or their management to paste this letter DOWNLOAD onto their letterhead, print it out sign it, can it, and email it to your case manager.. If you are a self-managed artist, please use this letter instead DOWNLOAD.

 

CURRENT CONTRACTS: Visas will only last as long as you can demonstrate that you have a contractual need to be in the U.S. “P” visas for groups can last for up to a year, and “O” visas for individuals can last for up to three years. However, it is important that you understand that these long durations are never automatic. To secure a visa, we need to satisfy USCIS’s request for contractual evidence to support your duration request. There are a couple of ways we can do this: (a) Performance contracts — USCIS wants to see performance contracts (or deal memos or detailed invitations) that cover the full duration you’re seeking. These don’t have to cover every day of the period, but you do want to at least show a contract at the beginning and at the end of the duration and hopefully some in the middle. (b) A valid, long-term contract with a foreign (non-American) “employer”, typically a record label — we can use a contract like this to establish that the artist has a foreign entity supporting their work. If the artist does not have a foreign record label, but does have a long-running contractual relationship with some other entity, let us know and we can discuss the viability of basing the visa duration on a relationship with a different type of employer.

 

ITINERARY: We need you to email us your planned itinerary, including DATE, VENUE, ADDRESS, PROMOTER and DEAL. This should be in some editable format, like Excel, Word, or a text file. It should be as complete as possible, but do not make up performances that are not real! If you are seeking a visa that lasts longer than your currently booked engagements please mention this immediately to your case manager. For more information long term visas please see www.covey.org/faq.html

 

DOCUMENTS THAT PROVE YOU’RE IMPORTANT:

 

BIOGRAPHY: We need a complete biography and (if you are a musical artist) discography. This is extremely important, and needs to be thorough and factual. PLEASE NO NOT SEND US A PRESS RELEASE! It should read like a good Wikipedia entry. This should be a professional summary of the artist’s career. Make sure to include information about awards or prizes the artist has received, even if they seem insignificant to you. Please make sure it casts the artist in the best light (not “these half-wit drug addicts…”) IMPORTANT: Bio must be in English, and it must be in the text of an e-mail or a text file emailed to your case manager.

 

PROOF OF A SUSTAINED CAREER: If you’re an ensemble, we need some DATED document that is more than 12 months ago, that shows that the group has existed for more than a year. This can be a contract, liner notes, press, advertisements, etc.

 

AWARDS AND PRIZES: Any documentation you can give us that shows that the artist has won any significant award or prize.,

 

PAST PERFORMANCES: Documents that show that the has been performing at renowned venues, events, or organizations. To show qualifying evidence, we will need to prove

(a) that the artist performed at renowned venues, events, or organizations; this can be shown with contracts, live reviews, advertisement, program, or listings.

(b) that the artist was the headliner at these performances; this can also be shown with contracts, live reviews, advertisement, program, or listings.

(c) that the venue, event, or organization was renowned; If we can’t find information about the venue or event on Wikipedia, you’ll need to give us published information about to demonstrate its renown.

 

FUTURE PERFORMANCES: Documents that show that the will be performing at renowned venues, events, or organizations. To show qualifying evidence, we will need to prove

(a) that the artist will perform at renowned venues, events, or organizations; this can be shown with contracts, live reviews, advertisement, program, or listings.

(b) that the artist will be the headliner at these performances; this can also be shown with contracts, live reviews, advertisement, program, or listings.

(c) that the venue, event, or organization was renowned; If we can’t find information about the venue or event on Wikipedia, you’ll need to give us published information about to demonstrate its renown.

 

PRESS: Press from your country and from abroad. Your home domestic press is probably the most impressive, so we should have some of that. However, we also have to prove that you are an “international artist,” so we need press that is not from your home country. Obviously, the more impressive the better, but anything helps. It need not be in English, but if it is not, we may need to secure translations of some or all of your press. If you plan to use non-English press, discuss this with us so we can advise you on the best way to prepare documents the CIS will accept. We need old and new press. We have to prove that you are an artist with sustained success. To do this we need a mixture of press from throughout your career. Ideally, please send us six good reviews, features, or interviews from your country, and six pieces from other countries (as many other countries as possible). In total you should be sending us about twelve pieces of press. IMPORTANT: You MUST indicate for each press clipping the magazine name, country, and publication date. (If you don’t do this, we’ll just have to ask you to identify them all later, and that’s a waste of everybody’s time.) IMPORTANT: Please e-mail scans of print press to your case manager as greyscale scans (200dpi JPGs, high-res). If you wish to submit online press, please just send us an email listing functioning URL links.

 

EVIDENCE OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: When possible it really helps if we can show evidence of the artist’s commercial success. USCIS is looking for some kind of quantifiable metric: chart ranking, sound scan data (or other radio airplay), ticket or record sales. For this kind of evidence to be useful, we will also need to show evidence that the publication cited is valid. For example, if you were ranked #35 in the Billboard Latin Pop Chart, we will need to show the chart AND we will need to show them evidence that Billboard is an industry standard radio play charts.

 

TESTIMONIAL LETTERS: We need letters from an important (or important sounding) person in you industry. The authors cannot have a direct financial interest in the artist securing a visa and should be able to speak to the artist’s commercial or cultural achievements. This letter must be signed and on letterhead. Your case manager will supply you with a template. Incredibly, it now appears that we will also need to include for each testimonial letter some kind of published documentation about the author of the testimonial. This means that if we can’t Wikipedia them by name, you’ll need to point us in the direction of website, CVs, resumes, or a media articles about your testimonials’ authors.

 

PAST CONTRACT: We need you to send us a contract for a past performance. Choose your highest paying contract, and, ideally, one that shows how long your set was. The performance could have been anywhere and at any time. As ridiculous as it may sound, we need this to help us establish your “hourly wage”.

 

YOUR MOST RECENT RELEASE: If you are a musical artist, we need you to post to us your most recent release (probably your newest CD). Please send it to CoveyLawPC, 20 Jay Street, Suite 308, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA. This is not normally as urgent as other documents, so it’s fine to send it normal airmail.

 

Depending on your situation, we may request more documents, but this is certainly a good start.

 

A NOTE ABOUT DEADLINES: As a rule, if you want to avoid the government’s $1225 “Premium Processing” expediting fee, you need to have payment and all these documents to us and in good order two months before the date you need to have your visa issued. If you are willing to pay the government’s $1225 “Premium Processing” expediting fee, you still need to have payment and all these documents to us and in good order one month before the date you need to have your visa issued.

 

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