|Changes in immigration that impact your life.
|DOS Cable on Visa Applications from Artists and Entertainers
|July 29, 2005
The U.S. Department of State recently issued a cable regarding visa applications
from artists and entertainers (P
visa) informing that the United States is a popular destination for artists
and entertainers from all over the world. In FY 2004, 32,040 P-category visas
for performances in the United States were issued.
The cable advises artists, performing groups and their managers and sponsors to
make sure that visa applications to perform in the United States are submitted
in a timely manner, well in advance of any scheduled performances. However it
also advises that the consular officers should be sensitive to the needs of performers
whose schedules may be disrupted by unforeseen events, and whenever possible,
accommodate these groups through post's normal procedures for expediting visa
applications. Consular officers should be especially alert to changes in a program
or a group compelled by illness, injury or other emergencies.
In many cases, individual members of a performing group traveling together to
the United States may not be able to appear at the same consulate at the same
time. There is no requirement that individual group members apply for visas at
the same time and place. Each member must, however, have a copy of the approved
petition in order to apply, or evidence (such as an I-797) of notification from
DHS or the Department that such a petition has been approved.
An approved I-129 petition for a performer is prima facie evidence that the alien
beneficiary meets the requirements for P classification. The large majority of
petitions approved by DHS are valid, and involve bona fide establishments, relationships,
and individual qualifications that conform to regulations in effect at the time
the petition was filed. The Department anticipates that the vast majority of visas
based on these petitions can be issued without delay. However, the Department
is aware of instances where the performer petition can be exploited by persons
who are not entitled to this status. In such cases, performing groups and their
representatives should be given the opportunity to establish their bona fides
through evidence of past activity. In addition, business records of the group,
especially focusing on intended performances in the United States, can be very
helpful in this regard. In most cases, logistical arrangement, venues, and publicity
will already be in place before the group travels.
The cable further notes that the consular officers do not have the authority to
question the approval of P petitions without specific evidence, unavailable to
DHS at the time of petition approval, that the beneficiary may not be entitled
to status. If such evidence is developed by the consular officer, the I-129 petition
may be returned to DHS through the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC).
In the past consular officers have requested members of a group to actually perform
in order to verify that all members of the group are actual performers. The cable
requests the consular officers not to make a routine practice of this, without
indications that one or more of the performers is not a bona fide member of the
group. This request is warranted only in rare cases, as part of an anti-fraud
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