US Visas Update from Tamizdat

18 January 2024

Tamizdat, a nonprofit organization that facilitates and advocates for international artist mobility and cultural exchange, have provided us with some important updates on US visas from the past two months.

“In late December of last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of State (DOS) made important announcements that we wanted to share with you.

1. DOS announced that it would be extending its interview waiver program, effective January 1, 2024. Under the program, O and P (and other nonimmigrant) visa applicants who have had a prior visa issued in the same classification, and are applying within 48 months of that prior visa’s expiration date, are eligible to have their interview requirement waived. Unfortunately, the interview waiver program no longer grants eligibility to applicants whose only prior visa issuance was a B visa. More information on eligibility for the interview waiver program can be found in DOS’ announcement.

2. In (much) less-than-good news, USCIS announced an inflation adjustment increase for its premium processing service, which will go into effect on February 26, 2024. Now the fee for requests to expedite O and P artist petitions will go from $2500 to $2805. This does not include the $460 filing fee for the Form I-129. More information on this increase can be found in USCIS’ announcement.

3. Finally, on December 22nd, Tamizdat submitted a Public Comment on behalf of the Performing Arts Visa Working Group on USCIS’s recently proposed new Federal Regulations, some of which impact Os and Ps. In short, we strongly supported the government’s proposal to extend its policy regarding giving deference to prior petition approvals; we objected to the proposed new “maintenance of status” evidentiary requirements; we asked the government to extend the proposed policy to allow applicants to amend itinerary dates in response to a Request for Evidence when a petition is approved “too late;” and we requested that USCIS extend its proposed new rules regarding providing additional benefits to students in F-1 classification seeking H-1B visas to students in F-1 classification seeking O-1B visas.”

Elizabeth A. Moller

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