USCIS Invites Comments on Petition Process - (05/17/10)

USCIS is inviting comments on a draft policy memo that will guide how USCIS staff processes artist visa petitions. Artists that travel to perform in the United States frequently bundle multiple performances into a single visa petition, which may include gaps between engagements. Current laws and regulations permit this practice, which is essential to streamline the time, costs, and burdens associated with obtaining artist visas. Recently, USCIS has been considering limiting the allowable time between engagements and considering whether, in certain cases, multiple visa petitions should be required for engagements that the USCIS considers “unrelated.” The draft policy memo, happily, does not propose such a limit, so long as the group of activities can be considered related events. This public comment period provides an opportunity for the arts community to affirm the importance of reasonable visa validity periods that cover multiple events. The deadline for submitting comments is May 24, 2010. Please note: Until issued in final form, the draft memo does not represent a change in policy at USCIS.