USCIS Reinstates Multi-Venue Petition Process! - (December 16, 2009)
Washington, D.C. - Orchestras can once again file a single visa petition for artists engaged for performances at multiple venues in the United States. In response to concerns expressed by the League and the broader national performing arts community, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reinstated the ability of a petitioner to file a single petition for artists coming to the U.S. for an itinerary of events with multiple arts organizations. Over the past two months, the League and our coalition partners communicated with top officials at USCIS, on the Hill, and in the White House to urge a return to this practice, which is more efficient and affordable than submitting multiple visa requests for a single itinerary of performance events.
In October, USCIS issued a memo revoking the ability of a U.S.-based employer to file a single petition for artists coming to the U.S. for an itinerary of events with multiple arts organizations - unless the petitioner is “in business as an agent.” A November 20, 2009 memo now directs the USCIS service centers to accept multi-venue petitions filed by organizations that act as an agent only for the purpose of submitting a visa petition.
When seeking visa approval for an itinerary involving multiple employers or venues, the petitioner does not have to demonstrate that it normally serves as “an agent” outside of the petition process. Instead, USCIS indicates that petitioners can include a statement, signed by the various venues or employers, establishing that the petitioner is authorized to act as agent for the limited purpose of filing the petition with USCIS. We’ve posted on the Artists from Abroad website a sample form that petitioners should consider including when applying for a single visa approval on behalf of multiple venues or employers.
If an artist plans to travel to the U.S. for multiple engagements, and a single U.S. organization is submitting the visa petition, the entire petition must be carefully assembled to satisfy all USCIS requirements. Since the November memo was issued, we’ve been in communication with USCIS to seek further clarity on the petition requirements. Additional updated guidance is now available on the Artists from Abroad website, prepared under the advisement of attorney Jonathan Ginsburg of FTM Arts Law.
Learn More about How to File a Visa Petition
The League is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.