Action Alert: USCIS Proposes Increase in Visa Processing Fees

I recently received the following Arts Action Alert from Americans for the Arts. My regular readers know my thoughts and concerns related to presenting artists from abroad. This 68% proposed increase in petition fees is completely unacceptable considering the current problems with USCIS processing, as well as the significant impact it will have on the not-for-profit organizations often presenting these artists.

You can help by contacting your legislators. American Arts Alliance even provides a pre-written letter for you, you just need to add your name and address and press "send." The actual campaign letter from the Arts Alliance is below. And if you are interested in receiving future alerts yourself, use the box below to subscribe.

USCIS Proposes an Increase in Visa Processing Fees

We need your help. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a proposed increase in visa processing fees for O and P visas. This proposed rule would increase the Form I-129 filing fee (from $190 to $320) and the Form I-824 filing fee (from $200 to $340). These new fees would increase the financial burden U.S. nonprofit performing arts petitioners already suffer when booking foreign guest artists.

We are opposed to the proposed increase of the filing fees for nonimmigrant worker petitions. It is our position that before the USCIS contemplates any price increase, regular processing procedures for our community must be improved.

Since 2001, the American Arts Alliance and its colleagues in the Performing Arts Visa Task Force have been working to persuade USCIS to make the O and P visa process efficient, reliable, and affordable. We believe that American nonprofit arts organizations provide an important public service by presenting foreign guest artists in performances, educational events and cultural programs in communities across the country. The delays and unpredictability in visa processing have made it increasingly difficult for international artists to appear in the United States. USCIS should not consider a fee increase without first improving regular processing procedures.

This is a proposed rule, which means it is not in effect yet and there is time to get it changed. A federal agency drafts proposed regulations and publishes them in the Federal Register. The public may then offer their concerns and objections during the "public comment period." After the public comment period, the agency examines the comments and issues its final regulations and the timetable for their implementation.

The time for public comment is now! Please submit comments on behalf of your organization by April 2, 2007. Below is a sample letter to help you in submitting comments.

Please edit the letter to reflect your personal experience with visa processing and include the docket number - DHS No. USCIS-2006-0044 – in your comments.

American Arts Alliance

1 comment:

justin said...

These new USCIS filing fees are so high that I believe they will price many intending immigrants right out of the market. Perhaps that's the plan.