Majority of the prominent names in EDM hail from foreign countries, so it’s always a treat when the U.S. gets blessed with one of their tours. But now, this will come at a higher cost to the musicians, as international artists will have to pay 42 percent more to enter the U.S., according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Starting Dec. 23, the fee for an I-129 form, the petition for the “nonimmigrant worker,” will cost $460 as opposed to the previous price of $325. This category encompasses all foreign musicians and everyone on tour with them, including managers, roadies, and stage hands.
Pitchfork also explained the act and crew must file for separate petitions, which will increase the fee even further.
This newly imposed fee is, in turn, imposing a huge financial burden on foreign musicians, said Liana White, executive director at the Canadian Federation of Musicians. In an interview with Billboard, she said:
“A fee surge of this kind adds an additional and unacceptable financial burden on our members.”
In their statement, the USCIS explained they tried to wait as long as possible – six years – before increasing the cost of petitions.
“We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews.”
But the agency is financed by users, Rodríguez said, so the fees are “necessary to ensure [they] can continue to serve [their] customers effectively.”
Hopefully the U.S. scene doesn’t suffer, but only time will tell how this raise truly affects our beloved foreign DJs.