Don’t Panic – Trump’s US Visa Chaos Won’t Affect Aussie Artists

Published on, Feb 2017


A lot of Australians didn’t really think Trump’s US presidency would have much of an impact on them, until a few days ago, when the news exploded around a number of changes to the country’s visa system, including the ban of citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries.

For local bands that want to or already have booked tours, the uncertainty surrounding the situation has created quite a mindfuck and has been aggravated further after today’s revelations about Trump’s aggressive phone call with Turnbull earlier this week.

Speaking with The Music, Brooklyn-based US immigration policy and procedure experts Tamizdat – who frequently deal with Australian artist applications – said “theoretically nothing” will change in the process.

“The Executive Order only impacts people from the seven banned countries,” attorney Matthew Covey said.

Covey also said US Customs and Border Protection has indicated Australian artists with dual-citizenship in one of the banned countries also don’t need to be concerned at this stage.

“It appears that they will not be affected by the ban, provided they are entering with their AU passport,” he said.

“This is the word from CBP, but it’s not official yet.”

The US Customs and Border Protection has updated their website since Trump signed the Executive Order with some FAQs, including one question that reads:

“Does this Executive Order apply to dual nationals of the seven countries who want to enter the US? If they apply for entry based on their citizenship from one of the countries NOT on the list, will they be allowed entry?”

To which UCBP answered: “Yes, but travellers are being treated according to the travel document they present.  For example, if they present a Canadian passport, that is how they are processed for entry.”

Fellow New York-based organisation RAZCo Visas has been providing visa and immigration assistance to musicians for over 40 years, with owner Ron Zeelens also telling The Music Australian artists need not worry.

“There have been no changes for artists applying for either an O or P visa and I do not foresee there being any issue for an Australian artist under the Trump administration. The basic costs are the same,” Zeelens said.

However, California Immigration Consultant and Global Access president Brande Lindsey told The Music in recent years the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have “implemented a sticker interpretation of the government regulations”, meaning the application process has become harder in general.

“The artist and their reps need to market the artist to show there is a demand for their employment services in the United States,” Lindsey explained, saying the new changes could result in further delays.

“The Consular processing times and the actual interview process could be expected to take longer and include more stringent background clearance screenings which can ultimately could cause significant delays inevitably postponing dates…allow a 3 – 6 month window to include petition preparation, USCIS adjudication and US Consular visa processing.”