performing artist visas/getting started/faq (artist code access only)

For how long can my visa be valid?

The duration of your visa is based on a lot of factors, so please bear with us as we try to explain this complex part of the process:

When we file a petition for an artist, we have to prove two things to USCIS’s satisfaction: first, we have to prove that the artist is of sufficient caliber to be eligible for the requested visa. The documentation needed to prove the eligibility is discussed thoroughly on on this page [Form 5]. Second, we have to prove that the artist has legitimate employment in the U.S. Documentation to prove employment is a little complex, because there are two ways to do this:

First Approach: we can show that the artist currently has confirmed engagements in the US. This approach is most useful if an artist is looking for a relatively short term visa, or if they have a regularly scheduled performance series or residency arranged. To show that a performance is confirmed, we need to show some kind of documentation; it can be a contract, emails between the parties, a deal memo, or a written summary of the terms engagement, including


• venue and,

• payment

It’s best if these documents are signed, and they need to indicate that terms have been offered and that the artist has agreed to the terms. Mostly, the documents need to represent a real (not made up!) agreement. When we file a petition based on existing engagements, we also need an itinerary summarizing the dates indicated by the contracts, letters, deal memos, or what have you.

Second Approach: Alternately, we can show that the currently artist has a contract with a company that necessitates the artist perform in the US. This approach is more useful if we are seeking a longer term visa. If, for example, the artist is signed to a record label, and that contract will be valid throughout the requested visa duration, the visa can be approved on the strength of that contract. Even so, unfortunately, we will still need an itinerary of your planned activities during the requested visa duration.

You can base a long term petition on a long term contractual relationship with a non-US employer, in which case the non-profit organization “Tamizdat” can act as your petitioner. Or You can base a long term petition on a long term contractual relationship with a US employer, but then that employer needs to act as a petitioner which is a more complex process, for which case we will have to charge you a $200 fee.

This itinerary should include complete information about any confirmed performances (date, venue, address, terms), as well as other activities in the US, including recording sessions, time set aside for writing, composing or rehearsing. You should also give a rough description of the activities you’ll be undertaking when not in the US (for example: “June – July, 2013 Touring in Europe”.) Most importantly, this itinerary needs to reflect your best good faith prediction of how you will actually be spending the time period covered by the visa you’re seeking. (You may recall that in the past, USCIS tended to truncate visas if there were large gaps of time between engagements; officially USCIS has recently changed its policy, and is not longer so concerned about gaps between engagements).