Category Archives: Updates

P2 Visa Process, Fee and Form Updates December 2023

From Canadian Federation of Musicians office:

Dear Locals,

In an effort to streamline and provide greater transparency on the processing of Member’s P2’s, last year the data tracking system was upgraded and now generates automatic alerts and updates to members on the status of their files. This system has enabled the staff to better track data and increases their communications to the members, who are often concerned about receipt of their package and processing of their visa.

The main contact on the P2/P2S Application (as listed bottom of page 1 of the application) will receive emails:

i.) When the application is first received at our office.

ii) When the petition form has been couriered to USCIS.

iii.) When the USCIS Receipt Notice has been issued. The email will include the Receipt Number and link to USCIS website, so members may monitor the processing status directly if they would like. The staff will of course continue the regular process of monitoring the status of all files as well.

iv.) When the P2 Approval Document (Notice of Action I-797) has been received in our office from USCIS. A scanned copy will be attached to this communication, and the recipient mailing address and method of delivery (courier, post, or in-person pick-up) will be confirmed.    

This means the main contact receives 4 emails for every P2 and/or P2S Application, notifying of the step-by-step processing. The emails are sent from the general P2 department email, immigration@afm.org. This is a useful email address to direct any P2 questions, as both of the primary (Ari Vangeest and Melanie Hall), as well as back-up P2 Administrators, will receive these communications. 

 We hope these changes have provided the members with a greater understanding of the process, and that these regular updates have eased their approval-waiting period. Special thanks to the wonderful AFM-tech team of Michael Ramos and Gary Goode for the design and infrastructure, and to Susan Whitfield and Ari Vangeest for the thoughtful integration.

AFM Administrative Fee increases January 1, 2024 (we will allow 1-month grace time for any who have already sent in petitions and/or have already budgeted based upon previous fees before receiving this update):

Standard Processing: from $120 for the first musician/technician to $125 for the first person.  The fee of $25 for each additional person does not increase.

Premium Processing: from $120 for the first musician/technician to $150 for the first person.  The fee of $25 for each additional person does not increase; and $25 to push up a submitted P2/S petition(s) from Standard to Premium processing $25 (new fee).

Replacement, B1 and Cultural Exchange Support Letters: from $45 to $50.

This information was posted to the CFM site prior to the Holiday Closure: EN: Work Permits :: Canadian Federation of Musicians (afm.org)  FR: Permis de travail :: Canadian Federation of Musicians (afm.org)

Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) Premium Processing Fee Increase February 26, 2024:  The Premium Processing fee will increase from $2,500 to $2,805.  The last day for receipt in the Canadian Office under the current $2500 fee will be February 16, 2024. This increase falls under the USCIS Stabilization Act allowing an adjustment to the premium fees on a biennial basis. After leaving these fees unchanged for the 3 years following passage of the Act, DHS is now increasing the premium processing fees to reflect the amount of inflation from June 2021 through June 2023 according to the (US) Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

There has been no further update as yet on last years proposed increase to standard processing, other than we may expect an update by March 2024.

Some banks across the country, most notably RBC, have stopped issuing USD Money Orders. When members encounter this issue:

  1. They may consider asking a close personal contact to inquire with their bank on the possibility of obtaining USD money orders;
  2. If they, or their close personal contact, do not already have such an account they may open a United States-based bank account, from which a money order can be obtained;
  • If they, or their close personal contact, hold or have access to a credit card issued by a United States Bank, they may pay via the USCIS credit card form at the following link: https://www.uscis.gov/g-1450;
  1. Obtain a United States Postal Service money order.

If none of the above is possible, please contact immigration@afm.org or (416) 391-5161

Current P2 processing timelines and submission recommendations:

Standard Processing: Majority of files are processing within 60 days after receipt in the Canadian Office (this information should not be confused with receipt of the Local office). We recommend Members to submit their application 90 days prior to the day they will need to enter the US.

Premium Processing: We recommend Members to submit their applications, for receipt in the Canadian Office, 30 days prior to the day they will need to enter the US.  USCIS will take up to 15 calendar days to process from the date of receipt in their office.

In November we Welcomed Melanie Hall as Bilingual Artist Immigration Administrator/Agente billingue à l'immigration des artistes, to the P2 Administrative team. With the addition of Melanie, the P2 services are once again fully bilingual.  Melanie can be reached at ext 222 mhall@afm.org .

 As we always keep the CFM website up to date, it is highly recommended that any P2-related information on Local websites simply be directed to: EN: Work Permits :: Canadian Federation of Musicians (afm.org)  or FR: Permis de travail :: Canadian Federation of Musicians (afm.org) .  The P2 Information document is in the process of being amended in both languages, to reflect the information above.  The documents should be posted early next week, after the office reopens from the New Years Holiday closing.  The applicable document links in the PREZI are also in process.

 

Good Life Fitness Corporate Membership Available to Members

As a member of the CMA you can access a corporate membership at GoodLife Fitness. 

GoodLife Fitness Application How-To:

1.Go to the link:  https://corporate.goodlifefitness.com/organisation-validation.html

  1. In the first box “Who Do You Work For” enter: Canadian Federation of Musicians
  2. In the second box, enter your AFM number (contact the office if you need your number)
  3. Click “Confirm”
  4. Click “Create login later” unless you already have one.
  5. Enter a postal code and choose a club.
  6. Choose your membership plan and payment frequency.
  7. Click “Confirm” and create your profile.
  8. If you wish, here you can add 1 person to your membership at the same rate.
  9. Check out and pay.

 

MPTF 2023

Update on the Music Performance Trust Fund:
The new fiscal year for performance grants from MPTF has just begun. Projects most generally will still be funded at 50% (with matching funds from a sponsor). 100% funding for special specific events through the year will still apply for the time being (Music Education, Jazz Appreciation Month, Live Streams) I will post these opportunities here and in Mailchimp and newsletter communications.
Please note that the Musicianfest program (performances in hospitals, social centres, retirement homes) has changed this year. There is no longer an allotment; rather single musician performances will be funded at 100% for solo performers at a rate of $200.00. Duos and trios will now be funded using the regular 50% funding process with local rates.
Any questions, please email info@calgarymusicians.org.

E-Transfer Payment Option Now Available

With September 1st and our new fiscal year right around the corner, I would like to inform the membership that we have added another payment option; e-transfers. The office is now set up to take this popular payment choice. To pay by e-transfer, send the funds to info@calgarymusicians.org ; no password is required.

We still accept cash, cheques and Visa or MasterCard debit/credit card payments. To pay by debit or credit card, please contact the office. Thank you for your continued support.

MPTF Music Family Scholarship 2023

The Music Performance Trust Fund’s 2021 Music Family Scholarship

OVERVIEW A scholarship fund utilizing the assets of the recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (“MPTF”) was established in June 2020 to encourage the children of professional musicians to pursue higher education and to become leaders in their chosen fields. In the second year of such fund, the MPTF intends to grant $100,000 in scholarship funds. Scholarships will be awarded based on the verification of all required information submitted by each candidate and the strength of each candidate’s essay and video submission.

TIMELINE The application deadline is 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at scholar@musicpf.org. Semi-finalists will be selected by August 1, and finalists announced on or about September 1. Recipients will be notified by email and letter.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact scholar@musicpf.org  or https://musicpf.org/scholarship-application/ 

 

P2 Visa Update – Clarification for musicians returning from the US.

THIS IS NOT AN EXEMPTION LETTER

OIC 50: 2021-0313

Dear Alan Willaert,

Thank you for your correspondence seeking an exemption from the COVID-19 related travel restrictions on behalf of performers travelling to the US for work. Please accept our apologies for our delayed response.

The Government of Canada implemented restrictions, testing requirements and quarantine measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Travel plans could be subject to significant change as new measures come into effect.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is of the opinion that the performers may be exempt from pre-entry or arrival testing, or quarantine requirements. PHAC’s opinion is based on the Emergency Orders as they currently exist.

Additional Information

COVID-19 Testing, Hotel and Quarantine Requirements

The Emergency Order, referred to as Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations (updated April 21, 2021) requires all travellers, regardless of citizenship, to provide proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test result prior to entry into Canada. Upon entry, all travellers are also required to take a test on arrival (at the airport or land border crossing), and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period.

Air travellers, with limited exceptions, must provide evidence of a prepaid, three-night stay at a Government-Authorized Accommodation (hotel) prior to their entry. Travellers need to stay at their reserved accommodation while they await the results of their arrival test, and are also required to pay for their hotel and associated costs for food, cleaning and security. Answers to frequently asked questions about the mandatory hotel stopover can be found here.

There are certain exemptions from testing and quarantine, but these are limited to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As per the Order, the following persons are exempt:

  • Persons who must cross the border regularly to go to their normal place of employment, including critical infrastructure workers (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing), provided they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the first 14 days after their entry to Canada

In order to be exempt upon entry, travellers must demonstrate they are travelling across the border to their normal place of employment (i.e. same company, same work site, etc.) from their residence on a regular basis (i.e. daily, weekly, or following a rotational schedule). Occasional travel to attend meetings or other work-related activities does not meet this group exemption.

Based on this information, the performers may qualify for an exemption from pre-entry or arrival testing, or quarantine requirements, including the three-night hotel stopover, provided they demonstrate the regularity and frequency of their work related travel.

As per this Order, exempt travellers must wear a mask in public settings, even if physical distancing can be maintained. In addition, they must maintain a list of all close contacts during the 14 days post-entry into Canada. If symptoms develop or further guidance is needed, travellers are encouraged to contact their local public health authority.

Please note that travellers do not require a letter of interpretation from PHAC in order to be exempt from Emergency Orders. It is the traveller’s responsibility to demonstrate that they qualify for an exemption from mandatory testing or quarantine measures. Government representatives at the border use the information available at the time of entry to determine what instructions will be provided to a traveller regarding their public health obligations. Further details on documents needed can be found here under the heading “Who is exempt from quarantine”.

Travellers are advised to refer to the following driving or flying to Canada checklists to understand all the travel requirements, and the following Travel web page for additional information related to testing, exemptions, quarantine requirements and ArriveCAN. (https://travel.gc.ca/covid-19-travel.)

We hope that this information assists you in understanding the Government of Canada’s position at this time.

Kind regards,

Emergency Orders and Policy Interpretation Team

Public Health Agency of Canada

phac.emergencyorder-decretdurgencecovid19.aspc@canada.ca

Équipe des décrets d’urgence et interprétation des politiques

Agence de la santé publique du Canada

phac.emergencyorder-decretdurgencecovid19.aspc@canada.ca

 

ARTS TOURING ALLIANCE OF ALBERTA: ONSTAGE ONLINE

Presented by the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta, this interactive, free virtual workshop is hosted by artists Von Bieker and Amelie Patterson who will talk about at what it takes for an artist to present a successful live-stream concert.

Discussion will include:

1) Video considerations
2) Sound considerations
3) Platform and monetization considerations
4) Marketing
5) Working with others versus soloist streams

Join them April 10th at 11AM

REGISTER NOW

2023 Richard Cowie Memorial Scholarship Award

2023 Richard Cowie Memorial Scholarship Award

 

JazzYYC and the Calgary Musicians Association are offering a $1000.00 scholarship to an individual who is a working jazz musician.  This scholarship is to be used to further the applicant’s studies in jazz (i.e. tuition fees, private lesson fees, workshop fees etc.).

 

The applicant’s proposal will:

  • present in a clear and concise manner, the applicant’s artistic vision.
  • show leadership in the Calgary jazz community.
  • show some originality of concept.
  • outline how the funds will be used, including a complete budget that includes the Calgary Musicians Association/JazzYYC scholarship funds as part of the overall funds needed for the project and a timeline for when the funds will be used. A written report that includes the actual expenditures will be required at the completion of the project.

 

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS:  Friday May 26, 2023

 

All submissions must include the following:

  • contact information.
  • a short personal biography, including your artistic vision.
  • a description of the planned use of the funds, including a timeline for the usage.
  • a complete budget for the project, which includes the use of the scholarship funds.
  • a copy (CD/Album), link or .mp3 of your most recent representative work (please label the case cover for CD/Album submissions).

 

Mail, email or drop submissions to:

Calgary Musicians Association

506 – 4 Street SW

Calgary, AB T2P 1S7

info@calgarymusicians.org

 

The successful applicant will be announced on or before Friday, June 23, 2023

 

A performance appearance by the winner will be sponsored and scheduled with JazzYYC.