NEWS ARCHIVE - 2008-2009

December 16, 2009

USCIS Reinstates Multi-Employer Petitioning Process

In response to concerns expressed by the national performing arts community, the USCIS has reinstated the ability of a petitioner to file a single petition for artists coming to the U.S. for an itinerary of events with multiple arts organizations. A November 20, 2009 USCIS memo offers some clarification for petitioners. 

When seeking visa approval for an itinerary involving multiple employers or venues, the petitioner does not have to demonstrate that it normally serves as “an agent” outside of the petition process. Instead, USCIS indicates that petitioners can include a statement, signed by the various venues or employers, establishing that the petitioner is authorized to act as agent for the limited purpose of filing the petition with USCIS. We have crafted a sample form that petitioners should consider including when filing petitions on behalf of multiple venues or employers.

If an artist plans to travel to the U.S. for multiple engagements, and a single U.S. organization is submitting the visa petition, the entire petition must be carefully assembled to satisfy all USCIS requirements. Please see our Multiple Venue Petitions for additional updated guidance. 

October 07, 2009

USCIS Announces New Appointed Petitioner Rules

The USCIS has announced new policies revoking the ability of a U.S.-based employer to file a single petition for artists coming to the U.S. for an itinerary of events with multiple arts organizations – unless the petitioning employer is in business as an agent. According to a USCIS “fact sheet” released on October 7, 2009, a single employer may not submit a visa petition on behalf of multiple employers, unless that employer is “in business as an agent.” Nothing, of course, prevents a single employer from filing a petition for its own engagement.

If an artist plans to travel to the U.S. for multiple engagements, and a U.S. organization in business as an agent is NOT submitting the petition, each U.S. employer must file a separate visa petition.

August 18, 2009

File Visa Petitions as Early as Possible

Recent developments at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), may cause unusual delays.

  • Requests for Evidence on the Rise: USCIS is responding to many well-assembled visa with requests for additional evidence. Even if you are experienced at the visa process - and even if an artist has previously been approved for a visa - carefully review your supporting evidence to ensure that it is as comprehensive as possible. Do NOT rely on the mere fact of a prior approval: document everything afresh.
  • Multiple Venue Petitions Questioned: A single arts organization or individual often will petition on behalf of multiple organizations engaging an artist for a series of performances. This "appointed agent" procedure streamlines and simplifies the petition process. However, USCIS has recently rejected some of these multiple venue petitions unless filed by a U.S. artist manager, contradicting current regulations and previously-approved practice.

To buffer against potential delays, please file your petition as early as possible! USCIS will accept visa petitions filed up to one year in advance of a performance. Filing your petition as soon as an artist is confirmed can provide the necessary cushion to help absorb unexpected USCIS delays.

September 30, 2008

Tax FAQ Now Online

Answers to your most frequently asked questions regarding the tax requirements for foreign guests artists are now available online. The tax FAQ posted on the Artists from Abroad web site provides an overview of the most common inquiries regarding withholding requirements, tax returns, and identification numbers for foreign guest artists.

September 18, 2008

Clarification on Accountable Plan Rules

The most recent verbal guidance from the IRS, as well as the IRS’s written guidance, indicates that the “accountable plan rules” are applicable to nonresident aliens working as independent contractors in the United States.  In effect, an expense reimbursement made to a foreign artist in accordance with these rules is not reportable as income – and is not subject to 30% withholding. The accountable plan rules also apply to expenses paid to third parties on the artist’s behalf (e.g., hotel accommodations and/or travel paid for or provided by a presenter). Learn more about the rules - and exceptions - in our updated guidance regarding payments subject to withholding.

July 14, 2008 

Updated Tax Tips from

The IRS is stepping up enforcement of the tax and withholding requirements for foreign entertainers. Do you know enough about the rules (and the exceptions!) to steer clear of IRS penalties? Whether you’re a frequent visitor to this site, or this is your first time viewing Artists from Abroad, check out the tax section, where we’ve posted all new guidance to help untangle the web of IRS rules. Authored by attorney Robyn Guilliams, the tax guidance includes details on withholding requirements, U.S. tax returns, identification numbers, and links to all of the forms needed to comply with IRS rules.