U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will increase fees for premium processing, effective Oct. 19, as required by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, Pub. L. No. 116-159, signed into law on Oct. 1. The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee to expedite the adjudication of certain forms, generally within 15 days. The Act included the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which requires USCIS to establish and collect additional premium processing fees, and to use those additional funds for expanded purposes.
Pub. L. No. 116-159 increases the fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, from $1,440 to $2,500, for all filings (except those from petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, requesting H-2B or R-1 non-immigrant status. The premium processing fee for petitioners filing Form I-129 requesting H-2B or R-1 non-immigrant status is increasing from $1,440 to $1,500. This applies to seasonal Agricultural Workers and Religious Workers)
Any Form I-907 postmarked on or after Oct. 19 must include the new fee amount. If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after Oct. 19 with the incorrect filing fee, we will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.
For more information, please visit https://cfmusicians.afm.org/news/uscis-increases-premium-processing-fee or contact Kaitlyn firstname.lastname@example.org or Jill email@example.com in our Artist Immigration Department.
Canadian Country Music Award Winners
Mitch Jay - Steel Guitar & Specialty Instrument of the Year
Matty Mackay - Guitar Player of the Year
Lindsay Ell - Interactive Artist of the Year
Lisa Dodd - Bass Player of the Year (Tie)
Justin Kudding - Bass Player of the Year (Tie)
Brendan Waters - Keyboard Player of the Year
Scott Moffatt - Record Producer of the Year
Western Canadian Music Award Nominees
Land's End Ensemble - Classical Artist / Ensemble of the Year
Congratulations Life Members
The Canada Recovery Benefit will provide eligible workers with $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to 26 weeks for those who have stopped working and who are not eligible for EI, or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in two-week periods.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prevents U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from implementing fee increases and new forms, which were originally planned to go into effect on October 2, 2020. USCIS has acknowledged the injunction but its webpage for the Form I-129 does not yet reflect this news, nor have the new Form I-129O and I-129MISC been released yet. For now, when filing for O and P guest artists and continue to file with the $460 filing fee. CFM petitioners are monitoring the USCIS website for the very latest information and version of forms before completing and submitting a visa petition.
In other USCIS fee news, the signed legislation that ensures the U.S. government is funded through December 11, 2020 included a section that authorizes USCIS to increase and expand the Premium Processing Service (PPS) fees for certain immigration-related applications. In most cases, the current $1,440 fee for Premium Processing is now authorized to increase to $2,500 and the O and P guest artist visas would fall into this category. The bill also authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish and collect a premium fee for “any other immigration benefit type that the Secretary deems appropriate for premium processing,” and premium fees may be adjusted every two years.
The bill directs the Secretary to “develop and implement processes to ensure that the availability of premium processing, or its expansion to additional immigration benefit requests, does not result in an increase in processing times for immigration benefit requests not designated for premium processing or an increase in regular processing of immigration benefit requests so designated.” However, it has long been the experience of arts petitioners that unexpected and lengthy processing delays of regularly filed petitions will necessitate upgrading to PPS.
It’s not yet known when a new PPS fee might go into effect and whether legal challenges may be filed to prevent their implementation. Until USCIS details its plans for increasing PPS fees, petitioners should continue to file the Form I-907 with the current fee of $1,440.
If you have recently submitted a P2 with the new fee – please email Jill Leger & Kaitlyn Vleming – firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com (or call Jill in the office Friday, October 2; Kaitlyn on Monday, October 5).
For more info:
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fee increases effective October 2, 2020.
Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 29th is the DEADLINE to apply under CURRENT FEE ($460USD)
P-Visas $695 USD - recommended processing time 60 calendar days.
Premium Processing $1440 USD (unchanged) - processing time 15 business days.
Large touring ensembles and orchestras of more than 25 performers will be required to remit double the fees noted, and must remit under separate money orders [similar to essential support workers falling under P2-S]
For more details, click HERE and please email Liana White firstname.lastname@example.org with questions on the fee & administrative changes.
- Recommendation 1 (CERB): That the government extend the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) until at least March 31, 2021, but preferably until all crowd prohibitions have been lifted and government allows live performance venues to reopen.
OR: That the government extend the CERB (as above) and restrict the extension to entertainment workers.
AND: That the government extend the CERB (under either of the above scenarios), and increase the $1,000 monthly non-penalized earnings, with a gradual claw-back of benefits, rather than termination of the benefit if the maximum earnings are exceeded.
- Recommendation 2 (UBI): That the government implement a Universal Basic Income.
- Recommendation 3 (EI Expansion): That the government expand the Employment Insurance (EI) program to fully include the self-employed, both as contributors and recipients.
- Recommendation 4 (EI Extension): That the government extend EI Regular Benefits, on a temporary basis, past the maximum claim period by 4-week increments, until such time as government lifts all crowd prohibitions.
- Recommendation 5 (RRSPs): That the government allow Canadians with Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) accounts to make non-taxable, limited withdrawals and to repay these withdrawals over a defined period.
AFM Vice-President from Canada
News release: https://cfmusicians.afm.org/news/written-submission-for-the-pre-budget-consultations
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented fee increases and other changes effective October 2, 2020. These increases have gone through despite AFM’s vast lobbying in opposition to these amendments, the potential of which was announced by USCIS in December 2019.
The new fee for a P2 (and all categories of P Visa) will be $695 USD, and $705 USD for O Visas. At this time, the recommended processing time is still 60 calendar days.
The Premium Processing fee of $1440 remains unchanged, but the processing time has increased from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.
In addition to the fee increase, there is now a 25-person cap per petition. Therefore, large touring ensembles and orchestras comprised of more than 25 performers will be required to file more than one petition, along with the appropriate per petition fee.
USCIS did issue responses to the various lobbying efforts in opposition to the above changes. In summation, USCIS has stated that while they do not wish to unduly place financial and other constraints on performing arts workers, they cannot provide preferential treatment to one sector, which would place additional burdens upon other sectors as a result. With respect to the O Visa now carrying a higher fee than the P Visas, and capping the number of musicians, the USCIS response is O Visas and large entourages, respectively, require more time and resources to process.
In spite of these recent changes, the AFM maintains its commitment to continued lobbying efforts to implement improvements benefiting musicians and all arts & culture workers.
For more info: https://cfmusicians.afm.org/news/uscis-p-and-o-visa-fee-increases and https://cfmusicians.afm.org/services/work-permits
2020 Global Music Award Winner
Silver Medal Winner: Best Album; Best Musical Group; Best Instrumentalist
Johnny Summers - Baker’s Dozen
YYC Music Award Nominees
COUNTRY RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Justine Vandergrift - “Stay”
BLUES RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Devin Cooper - “Going Down [feat. The Flat Whites]”
INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE YEAR
JAZZ RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Deanne Matley - “Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing”
SOLO ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Devin Cooper - “Going Down [Ft. The Flat Whites]”
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
Justine Vandergrift - “Stay”
WORLD RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Sandra Sutter - “Burn-In-Me”
VENUE/PRESENTOR OF THE YEAR
ZACKARIAH AND THE PROPHETS MEMORIAL AWARD
Congratulations to all.
The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) invites young adults who have grown up in a musical family to tell us their story! Applicants must be a child of a professional musician, and pursuing further education after high school. The program is open to qualified students who meet all the minimum qualifications. Open to all students in the United States and Canada. Scholarships will be awarded based on the successful completion of this application form; the strength of the applicant’s essay; and the representation by the applicant that all answers are true. Please complete all items in the application and essay page/s within.
On June 2, 2020, the Calgary Musicians Association will be participating in the #TheShowMustBePaused Music Industry Blackout Tuesday, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Canadian Federation of Musicians and the Calgary Musicians Association stand with our black, indigenous, and people of colour members, staff and community-at-large against racial inequity, racial violence, and racist actions of all kinds.