US Visa Process Making It Even More Difficult For Foreign Musicians To Tour Here

from the that-can't-be-good dept

A couple of years ago, we noted that US Immigration was making life difficult for touring musicians by changing the way they enforced the visas commonly used by musicians. Specifically, the usual visa required proof of popularity — but had no systems in place to account for popularity via the internet. This resulted in various well known musicians (including, by the way, our friend Lily Allen) being barred from making expected appearances in the US. It appears this sort of thing is happening again. The law still hasn’t changed, but US Immigration has again increased the strictness in how it interprets the existing laws for foreign musicians, leading some top acts to be barred from entering the country — or just increasing the bureaucracy they need to go through. For many foreign acts, touring the US is quite important in attracting more attention.

The article discusses how this is harming some acts that have built a lot of buzz or won awards… but then have had trouble capitalizing on that with a US tour. It’s kind of amusing that just as we hear from politicians talking about the importance of helping musicians with more and more draconian copyright laws, they’re making it that much more difficult for them to tour, build their reputation and earn a living. The next time an American politician discusses the need for more draconian copyright laws to help musicians, perhaps a reporter can ask them about this particular issue as well.

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Comments on “US Visa Process Making It Even More Difficult For Foreign Musicians To Tour Here”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the modern version of copyright is an out-of-control extortion industry.

Now, I don’t have a problem with moderate, well-controlled extortion industries (ie, government), watching politicians whore themselves out to the RIAA, MPAA and similar organizations is simply, painfully wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let’s talk about Lily Allen:

The fighty pop strumpet was sent back after a five-hour interrogation over her criminal record and, more specifically, her arrest in March over the alleged assault of a photographer.

Five hours? You’d think a simple ‘yes or no’ answer would suffice. Immigration officials at Los Angeles airport cancelled Allen’s working visa for the trip, during which she was due to shoot a video with Kanye West and appear at the MTV Video Music Awards.–lily-denied-at-us-border

The US routinely refuses people with criminal records access to the country. I know a number of business travelers who have been refused access to the US because of a past DUI charges, and one from a bar fight when he was 19.

Musicians aren’t special, they just think they are.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: “Criminal Record”? What “Criminal Record”?

and, more specifically, her arrest in March…The US routinely refuses people with criminal records access to the country.

So she was only arrested, but not (yet) charged. So whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? Or is that out of fashion in the US these days?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: �Criminal Record�? What �Criminal Record�?

For customs in most countries, just the fact that you are charged with something in another country makes you a flight risk, which in turn makes you a risk to not follow your visa rules. They also can look at it is as you may be violent or a risk to the American people.

Customs isn’t like a court of law.

Anonymous Coward says:


I see the silent hand of the record industry at play here. From the link: “Additionally, a U.S.-based sponsor such as a label, manager or tour promoter was needed to apply for the visa”. Sounds kind of like independent artists need not apply. I can hear a record company rep saying “sign with us and we can get you into the country”. One more way to lock independent artists out of the market.

Tyanna says:

Re: Barring musicians

Stop being retarded. They are looking for a work visa, not for immigration status.

If you can prove that that you are a musician, you have booked a tour, that you have seats sold for said tour, and that after the tour you will be returning home why shouldn’t they be allowed in?

Other then because the American labels won’t be getting a cut of their profits that is….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Barring musicians

… other than American musicians may not be working as a result, other than the Americans don’t need to let every person with a criminal record into the country, other than the fact that the same purpose could be served by selling the DVDs of other concerts…

I could go on, but I am sure that plenty of “musicians” just happen to get lost once then get over the border and never make it back.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Barring musicians

Somehow, I don’t think that well known, top 10 selling artists on a worldwide tour with dates & tickets fully booked tend to get “lost” all that often… The articles aren’t referring to amateurs with a few gigs at small bars, we’re talking major established or up-and-coming artists.

As for American jobs, what about all the backup musicians, support acts, technicians, security and other people who lost their work as a result of the refused entry? Not to mention increased record sales, merchandising, etc. that would have paid American wages & sales taxes. Like it or not, foreign acts can actually be quite important for your economy.

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