Visa P2: improvements in the processing times

[AFM Canada's Press release]

As you are aware, for several years the AFM’s Department of Government Relations, working with many other non-profit organizations, has been advocating for improvements in the processing times and the elimination of the processing fee for O and P visas.  

The AFM is pleased to inform you that senior officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) promised at a stakeholders meeting on July 20 that processing times for regularly-filed artist visa petitions will not exceed 14 days.  This means that AFM members will no longer need to resort to paying $1,000 for the expedited processing under the Premium Processing Service.  (Note, the regular processing fee of $320 is still required.) .

Although this is great news for our Canadian Locals and their members, it is important to note that not all petitions filed since USCIS instituted the 14 day processing rule in May have been processed within that time.  

We have tracked all petitions filed with USCIS since the beginning of June and have found only a small handful were approved within 14 days, with greater majority approved within 30-45 days, and the balance are sill pending.

However, this may be because USCIS is still in the first stages of implementing this rule.  Any petition not approved within 14 days will be tracked by AFM immigration staff and brought to the attention of USCIS.  

For the time being we strongly suggest P2 applications be sent allowing a minimum of 50 days to process before the required date of entry.  NO PREMIUM PROCESSING fee is required.  We will closely monitor the processing times, and will lower this minimum as we see more improvement.  

Please keep in mind that, even when the processing time for all petitions stabilizes at 14 days, the AFM still requires time to review the applications and prepare the petition.  Therefore, the best we will ever be able to recommend is probably a 21 day processing period.  It is also safest to allow a few extra days in the event there is a processing error by USCIS, as this will allow us time to look into the problem and have it resolved.

Should you have any questions about the new processing policies, please email Liana White, lwhite@afm.org.

The AFM, in conjunction with the nonprofit performing arts community, has been very active in expressing concerns regarding the visa process and in lobbying USCIS to make administrative changes. The Performing Arts Visa Working Group, of which AFM is a member, was successful in getting the ARTS Act introduced in both the House and Senate to address visa processing times, and has worked with leaders in the House, Senate, and the White House Domestic Policy Council to put pressure on USCIS to address these problems.