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Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

U.S. work visas 

This may have come up before but I just wondered if anyone could help me here.
Supposing as a non U.S. citizen you get contacted to do a gig in the United States. Can you just fly to the States and do the gig? I understand the need for a work visa if you intend to live and get a job in the U.S but do you also need one to do a couple of concerts? If so, do you have to show you have a contract before you can apply for the visa? How do big bands manage it?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 1:05:31
 
orsonw

Posts: 1958
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

I know for a few shows it can seem like a ridiculous hassle to get a visa but technically if you are doing any paid work you need a work visa. If you're not getting paid I imagine it could be considered a leisure activity so I think you wouldn't need a work visa?
When I used to work alot in the US, I had a work visa, which wasn't hard to get with a US agent, US lawyer, US record company etc. If you're a musican in a band it's easy to prove noone else can do your job. I rememeber it is harder to get crew members visas for this reason.
I always had a lawyer sort out my US work visas so I don't know but imagine it's quite a hassle. Maybe it's worth going and not getting paid but being taken good care of, maybe that's ok to do on a tourist visa wavier? I remember once going to the US to play for some record companies unpaid. I was ok on tourist wavier but I had an official letter from a corporate label, the border guards wanted to see it and checked it out for authenicity before they let me in.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 4:55:54
 
Exitao

Posts: 907
Joined: Mar. 13 2006
From: Vancouver, Canada

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

The U.S. can be a real stickler for these things. Make sure you take care of everything you need to.

If you don't, they don't tend to be very forgiving. The people I've met from customs and immigration tend to be fanatical.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 10:43:03
 
Leendert

Posts: 153
Joined: May 27 2010
From: WI, USA

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

Hi, I live in the US, but only since 4 years, I`m originally from Holland.
Cause of this I had to go through the whole circus of immigration, visa`s and stressful ordeals to just get to stay here.....end of the story is I like to think I know quite a lot about the subject.
As far as I know as long as you stay UNDER 90 days in the US, You don`t need a (work) visa. If for any reason you think you might stay longer, I would seriously recommend getting one, the government is very clear about that.
For whatever reason you`ll be coming to the states, at the airport ( already in the plane, you are asked to fill out forms)they WILL ask you where you will be staying, reason of visit etc..and they would like to have an adress as well.

Now, one thing to add to that......my mum still lives abroad and is coming to visit me in August, and she has just told me recently she heard that she will be needing a (tourist) visa??? of some sort.......so this might be a new rule that they have just come up with, which I suggest you need to look into. Maybe it`s wise to talk to your travel agent/ airport, explain the situation and ask what the best way to go is.....if this is true, then my story above is all for nothing......lol.........Good luck!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 19:22:52
 
Leendert

Posts: 153
Joined: May 27 2010
From: WI, USA

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

Also if it`s just for a few gigs, and you have a place to crash (whether it`d be at friends or a hotel) then I wouldn`t even mention the gigs...they might have you pay taxes or some crap or make you file some ridiculous paperwork over it.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 19:26:51
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

Paid performances in the U.S. definitely require a work visa, which involves getting Department of Labor Certification and an Immigration Service petition to present to the U.S. Embassy where you will be applying for the visa.

A note on a couple of the replies to your query:

Leendert: the less-than-90 day stay applies only for tourism or business, not for work.

Exitao: It is not fanatical for the Immigration officers to require a proper work visa, if that is what one intends to do. I know of no country that does not require a work visa for paid performance.

Cheers,

Bill
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 19:37:56
 
buleria74

 

Posts: 135
Joined: Jan. 23 2010
 

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

for a concert I wouldn't think you need a permit. just talk to those

who have asked you to play in th US, for tours covering many cities the

promotion company in US does all the paperwork. I mean it would be

useless getting a WP for a couple of bucks, just play and have fun.

but dont forget this before you leave for ther US:

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 20:15:18
 
gshaviv

Posts: 272
Joined: Mar. 22 2005
From: Israel

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to buleria74

I think you need a work visa only if you are going to be getting a paycheck (w2), i.e. hired as an employee. That's not the case.

You may even get payed by a wire transfer to your foreign account, so technically you are not getting paid in the US.

that said, I'm not an attorney so I wouldn't count on my answer. The simplest thing would be to call the local american consulate and ask them.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 20:37:19
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to gshaviv

What counts for visa purposes is the source of your remuneration. If it is in the U.S. you need a work visa. A wire transfer to a foreign account makes no difference, as the source of remuneration is a U.S.-based entity.

Cheers,

Bill
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 21:52:05
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

Paid performances in the U.S. definitely require a work visa


This is what I suspected. If I were going on holiday and to the U.S. and happened to do a casual gig then I would risk not saying anything but what I am talking about are contracted gigs where you are advertised and well paid.
I have found from personal experience that U.S. border police (more than most) have no sense of humour. There is no way that I could explain bringing Spanish gypsies and instrument cases in to the U.S. that we were all on a sight seeing holiday. I met someone recently who went to the US on holiday and did a single day of modeling in New york when she was there. Somehow she got found out, was deported and banned from reentering the country for 5 years.

I think the rules are pretty strict...if you get ANY paid work, you need a visa. I'll talk to the consulate here and find out for sure before I end up in Guantanamo.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2010 23:57:56
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to gshaviv

quote:

You may even get payed by a wire transfer to your foreign account, so technically you are not getting paid in the US.


Obviously in the Oil Industry, technicians and engineers are flying all over the world to sort out problems...not just to give advice etc, but to actually go offshore or wherever, roll up their sleeves and actually WORK on their own company's supplied equipment etc.

Since often they are called out on short notice, there would be no time to arrange a work permit.

So I feel that gshaviv's point is right here.

So perhaps as long as you are not physically receiving a cheque or cash in your hand, then it cannot be classified as working?
I mean surely Gerardo Nuñez, who is here, there and everywhere, (often for just 1 or 2 days) can't be constantly applying for work permits?

When I was working in the industry, we all had either "Artist's" visas or "Training" visas.

Let us know what happens anyway.

BTW: I wonder if you would you be allowed to give a concert in Guantanamo without a work permit?

cheers,

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 0:35:57
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Ron.M

quote:

I mean surely Gerardo Nuñez, who is here, there and everywhere, (often for just 1 or 2 days) can't be constantly applying for work permits?


I suppose I'll have to ask. The thing is though that there must be people all the time who need to go to the US at short notice to do a job for a day or two. If a lecturer goes to Harvard to talk for an afternoon, or a lawyer flies in to do something for the world bank for a day, or a sports team playing is a match or the rolling stones give a concert....do they all apply for work permits?
If as a you say an oil company needs an overseas technical team in 12 hours , they cant have time to organise work permits.
I feel sure theses circumstances are different from people who are actively going to the US to work for 3 months. I am wondering if anyone actually knows for sure.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 1:20:49
 
Escribano

Posts: 6422
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

quote:

If as a you say an oil company needs an overseas technical team in 12 hours , they cant have time to organise work permits.


Having been a technical guy for an oil company amongst others, one does need a visa or visa waiver for business trips. The US was ok as I was employed in the UK and could travel under the visa waiver or L1A management visa. Other places like Venezuela, Brazil, Moscow, Ghana and Congo all required trips to the embassy and visas.

I believe there is a specific US visa for visiting artists, performers etc. There is a ton in information on the web.

Kate should know this, she has organised US tours. Send her a PM

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 4:18:58
 
orsonw

Posts: 1958
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Escribano

I had a work permit that lasted for a year at a time so anytime I was playing in the US I already had a visa rather than applying for each indivdual trip. This is generally the way artists deal with the visa issue. Of course a good lawyer and money can get a visa fast if something comes up. When someone like the Stones or even little old me play in the US we employ crew so creating work for US citzens- that's always welcomed. It's taking work away from US citizens that is not ok.

It is the case for The Stones, Gerardo Nunez and everyone else; there is no legal way around working in the US without a specific work visa. It is not unknown for big name acts having to cancel tours because of visa problems. The visa even dictates exactly which kind of work you are allowed to do for example I could only work as a musician.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 6:29:52
 
Chiste de Gales

Posts: 298
Joined: Jan. 13 2009
 

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

Just do it Beatles style and get paid with a brown paper bag of cash.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 10:05:38
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

quote:

just wondered if anyone could help me here


If there is an immediate concern, please email me or call me, and I will be delighted to help.

As a general rule, one needs a proper permit or visa in order to lawfully render any service in the US, even when not compensated (such as an internship). There is a variety of programs available for different services and circumstances. A US immigration attorney may prove quite helpful, yet I find that the US Consulate Visa officers can advise you and solve your problem gratuitously when the circumstances are straightforwardly simple.

The one issue is that the US authority will want to know that a visitor has a place, a job and a bank account to return to, after experiencing the irresistible beauty of America.

Citizens of countries which are signatories to the Visa-Waiver program are not required to have any Visa when "visiting" the US -for a period categorically limited to 90 days.

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gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 10:34:56
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to gj Michelob

quote:

US authority will want to know that a visitor has a place, a job and a bank account to return to, after experiencing the irresistible beauty of America


I cant imagine wanting to come back to Granada after the majestic splendour of Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Niagara

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 11:57:50
 
Alonte

 

Posts: 214
Joined: Dec. 2 2008
 

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

And... California. Just like spain but doesnt get awefully hot. Los Angeles at least...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 12:10:03
 
Exitao

Posts: 907
Joined: Mar. 13 2006
From: Vancouver, Canada

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

If you can be sure of getting paid cash, you might get away with it. But be careful with the US, they really hold a grudge.

If they kick you out, you'll have a hard time ever getting back in.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 13:13:01
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Exitao

quote:

If you can be sure of getting paid cash, you might get away with it.


Exitao, what kind of an advice was that?

Pimientito does not strike me as the type who would chance it. It is not a matter of getting away, really, but one of integrity. One could get away with committing tax evasion, robbery or even with rigging boxing matches. I hope we do not engage in such activities regardless of the odds of “getting caught”.

When asked by the immigration officer to explain the “purpose” of the entry, one will want to respond truthfully, but in order to do so confidently, one would need to have the proper Visas or letters of accompaniment, to avoid being escorted onto the next flight home.

Incidentally, Pimientito is a physician. He would have no problem securing a visa to enter this country.

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gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 15:25:14
 
Exitao

Posts: 907
Joined: Mar. 13 2006
From: Vancouver, Canada

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to gj Michelob

quote:

ORIGINAL: gj Michelob

quote:

If you can be sure of getting paid cash, you might get away with it.


Exitao, what kind of an advice was that?


I don't know Pimentito well enough to judge his character. Nor would I be inclined to judge it based on any choice he made regarding this type of issue. I'm morally ambiguous on the issue of "victimless crimes." I'm really a live and let live kind of guy.



Someone else had suggested that he should just work cash.

The above was my appraisal of that suggestion and a caveat. He might get away with it if he chose to do it.

However, the consequences of a choice like that are not likely to result in much problem in the lines of tax evasion. Working without a visa is likely to get him deported and barred from re-entry.

When US customs kicks you out, they make it very hard to get back in again.


To recap my post, it wasn't advice. It was an appraisal of someone else's suggestion and a caveat.

If you wanted to read into it and believe that advice was implied, I guess it could be "don't screw with US customs and immigration." Which would have been sound advice, IMO.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2010 22:19:28
 
orsonw

Posts: 1958
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to gshaviv

This is a great thread.

It highlights the fact that on the internet having no idea of the subject under discussion presents no obstacle to giving an opinion!

And even on a highy objective topic like this- wonderful!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2010 0:08:26
 
Reinhardt

 

Posts: 58
Joined: Sep. 10 2008
 

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

F.T.U.S.V.D !!!!!!!!!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2010 0:42:12
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Reinhardt

quote:

F.T.U.S.V.D


??? You want to do what to the US Visa department????

Anyway, I wasnt really trying to start a fight here or find out how to do illegal gigs in the US and get away with it! I'm not talking about getting paid in cash for a bar gig somewhere.
What Im talking about is if you get contracted to play in a theatre or corporate event, what visa is required to do so legally without risking the wrath of US immigration and IRS. I was really more interested in the whole special visa thing that Escribano mentioned and the advice that orsenw gave so thanks guys.

Osenw - when you went to the states as a musician did you have gigs pre arranged or did that visa mean that you could go to the states with no contracts for work and then find work as a musician once you were there?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2010 11:20:39
 
Reinhardt

 

Posts: 58
Joined: Sep. 10 2008
 

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Pimientito

Hahaha just wanted to say that :D
Its a song name from the mexican Duo band Rodrigo y Gabriela, i guess they got feddup with the us visa department and called it f.t.u.s.v.d probly meaning f**k the US visa department :P
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2010 12:24:57
 
orsonw

Posts: 1958
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to Reinhardt

The visa wasn't for specific shows but just open for a fixed period a year at a time. A lawyer dealt with it so I'm not sure what criteria need to be met to get the work visa but I was in a band and had a US record deal, agent etc.. rather than a musician loosely looking for work in the US.

If the shows you have are well organised I imagine it should not be a problem for you to get a visa. International artists are playing shows all the time and getting a visa to do so. Perhaps the promoter or agent can advise you. Of course it will cost but an immigration lawyer will be able to sort it out for you, maybe the promoter can bear that cost?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2010 13:53:04
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: U.S. work visas (in reply to orsonw

I am a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who spent a career as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, and I have done my share of work visas. I can assure you that if you follow proper procedures, you will have no problem in being issued a work visa to perform in the U.S. The people who have problems are those who try to cut corners, get paid through "wire transfers overseas," misrepresent their true purpose in going to the U.S., and generally have a chip on their shoulder regarding U.S. visa law and regulations, in short, those with an "F.T.U.S.V.D." attitude.

Thousands of performers obtain visas to perform in the U.S. annually and have no problem because they do it correctly. My advice is to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate closest to you. They will have all the information you need.

Cheers,

Bill
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 2 2010 15:51:04
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