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Performing in the United States? What All Foreign Born Tourists (B-1 Visa Holders) Should Know Befor

Musical performers or members of a musical group that wish to come to the United States to perform may qualify for a B-1 temporary business visitor visa. Musical group members may qualify for such visa if they are traveling to the United States to perform in an unpaid musical showcase or conference. Previously, it was difficult for unpaid musicians to travel to the United States on a visa. Unpaid performances that demonstrate the musicians skill and expertise are not a reflection of an extraordinary working visa such as an O and P visa.

On October 19, 2017, the Department of State confirmed that individuals or musical groups that would like to travel to the United States under certain circumstances may be able to qualify for the B-1 visa. Musicians will be able to showcase their skills and specialties at unpaid conferences and performances while on a B-1 visa. The individual or music group must be scheduled to perform in a showcase that is more akin to an audition rather than a paid event. The applicant must not perform at any other event than the one that they are being granted access under.

To qualify for a B-1 visa as a musician, an individual must be part of a temporary commercial activity. The applicant must maintain residence abroad and confirm that permanent residence in the United States is not their motive. "The principal place of business and the actual place of eventual accrual of profits, at least predominantly, remains in the foreign country" must be demonstrated (Hira, 11 I&N Dec. at 827). The applicant must also show that their salary is being distributed from their home abroad, rather than in the United States. No compensation or salary may be allocated for the performances that are being executed.

B-1 applicants must be able to provide corresponding documentation to their case along with proof of the conference that they will be attending. Applicants can provide conference receipts, schedules, letters of endorsement or hotel information for appropriate documentation. They must also be able to provide documentation of alleged funds to show their ability to financially support themselves and their travel back to their

foreign country. Any applicant that wishes to perform and receive compensation will not be permitted to obtain a B-1 visa and will have to explore other visa options.

If you are a B-1 Visa holder or interested in attaining one in order to perform in the United States, please reach out to us for a consultation. For all inquiries and consultation requests, please email us at

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