Dear Local Officers/Administrators:
We have finally received official word from the Vermont Service Center that they are approximately 26 days behind in processing petitions, which would technically mean that office is processing petitions received April 30th and earlier. However, on the bright side, our files currently being approved were filed later than April 30th; our pending files were submitted in and around mid-May and later.
It was suspected by our office a couple weeks ago that there could be a backlog because a good number of files are being approved at the final hour, or require congressional intervention, or are being approved late. We did not know for certain because sometimes it’s just a small group of petitions that get caught up in the system and it’s not the result of an official backlog.
What this 26 day processing time delay specifically means to P2’s is that we will need at least the full 45 calendar days otherwise we will need to recommend premium processing [being an additional $1,225 USD], unless the musicians or their representatives have a US senator or congressional office secured in advance, and on standby for when the file is issued a receipt number enabling them to act upon the petition.
It is still USCIS policy that all artist/entertainer petitions should be processed within 14-days of receipt by the service centers, but there is nothing legally binding the centers to adhere to their own policy. In the background, the AFM continues to work with the Performing Artist Visa Task Force/Working Group [an ad-hoc collation of US non-profit, arts organizations formed in 2001] which has recently resubmitted the ARTS Act in hopes of having the 14-day processing guarantee legislated.
Please ensure that any members inquiring about P2’s with your offices are aware of the present filing times/backlog – and further, that if we should agree to process a petition which does not allow 45 calendar days to process, they will be filing at their own risk, again, unless they have a senator/congressional aid secured.
I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
Canadian Federation of Musicians
150 Ferrand Drive, #202
Toronto, ON M3C 3E5
(T) 416-391-5161/800-463-6333 ext 232