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.

Filed Under: immigration, musicians, touring, us, visas

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2009 @ 6:58pm

    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.

    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.

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