Canadian Musicians Petition to Scrap U.S. Touring Visas
Published Jul 07, 2016Picking the right podcast, navigating Taco Bell's seemingly endless menu, finding a comfortable place to poop — these are just some of the stressful factors in play when an indie band opts to go on tour. Worse than all of those, however, is the daunting and expensive task of trying to cross the U.S. border. Now, musicians are petitioning for major changes to the system.
As it stands right now, Canadian musicians must apply for a P2 Visa to enter the United States. As a Change.org petition from Omar Khatib explains, this can often cost around $800 per member of a band. To expedite the process, bands often pay between $1500 and $2000 to have their visas processed in time, and even then they're not guaranteed to arrive in time for tour.
If the bureaucratic nightmare works out and they are able to get their visas in time, bands are often required to fork over 30 per cent of their gross profits to the U.S. government before returning home.
Khatib says that the United States should lift the visa requirement for a number of reasons, explaining that Canadian musicians actually bring money to America. As he writes:
There is no need to create a barrier for the work of Canadian artists. Instead, when Canadian bands enter the States for tours (which usually last for weeks on end), we are doing the following:
- Enabling cash-flow in American music markets.
- Giving American bands more opportunities to play shows and promote themselves.
- Supporting and buying American products from American businesses.
- Paying American taxes for the duration of the tour.
- Building a great relationship between the music communities in both countries.
To sign the petition, go here.