On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that, among other provisions, immediately "suspends" the immigrant (“green card”) and nonimmigrant (Os, Ps, Fs, Hs, etc.) entry of citizens from the following countries for 90 days from January 27, 2017: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Artists from these countries will not be able to enter the US, including those artists who already possess an I-797 Approval Notice or even who have already been issued an actual visa. As of January 29, 2017, those holding green cards may, in theory, re-enter the U.S., but they, too, should expect additional scrutiny, delays, and possible refusals.

It should be noted that the travel ban will not automatically be lifted after the 90 days.

Also, this order not only applies to anyone who holds a passport from any of the 7 designated countries, but also to dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country, as well as a non-designated country. So, for example, if an artist were to hold BOTH an EU passport as well as an Iraqi passport, that artist would be subject to the bar. “Theoretically, dual nationals holding US citizenship remain able to re-enter the U.S., but they should expect additional scrutiny and delays as well.

It is unclear whether or not the travel ban applies to people who are former citizens of the 7 countries or who may have merely traveled to one of these countries. However, they should expect additional scrutiny and delays as well.

Additional changes to the visa rules, regulations, and restrictions have been threatened in the upcoming weeks. However, the expectation is that most of these will apply to H-1B visas (employees with specialized skills and academic degrees), which rarely, if ever, apply to artists and F visas (students), which will apply to artists attending school and training programs in the US. We would also not be surprised if President Trump eventually slams the door again on Cubans, as well.

For now, aside from those artists impacted directly and immediately, everyone else should take a breath and keep the following in mind:

1) Do not panic!
We’re all doing that for you!

2) Stop relying on ESTA
There is going to be even more scrutiny and less forgiveness that ever before with regard to artists attempting to enter the US on visitor visas (B-1/B-2) and/or ESTA status. We’ve have said this 1000 times, but we keep getting questions about this: Artists cannot perform on visitor visas and/or on ESTA status. Not for free. Not for education. Not for schools. Not for training. Not if no tickets are sold. Not no way! Not no how! If any US manager, agent, presenter, venue, or academic institutions tells you otherwise — RUN AWAY!

3) Plan ahead
This has always been important, but now it has become critical. In other words, don’t schedule any quick connecting flights or wait until the last minute to file visa petitions and schedule consulate interviews.

Lastly, because the situation can change at any time, it is critical that you consistently check with reliable sources for updates and developments before making any travel decisions, applying for visas, or booking foreign artists. We strongly recommend:

1) www.artistsfromabroad.org
2) The USCIS website: www.uscis.gov
3) The US Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov
4) Licensed immigration attorneys

You can always find more information on our website: www.ggartslaw.com. And if there’s something in particular you want to know about, be sure to let us know!

Brian Taylor Goldstein and Robyn Guilliams are the founding partners of GG Arts Law, a New York-based entertainment law firm, as well as Managing Directors of Goldstein Guilliams International, through which they provide comprehensive business, project and tour management, and legal services exclusively to the international performing arts and entertainment community. Brian has twice been recognized as one of New York's "Super Lawyers" in the fields of Entertainment, Intellectual Property and Immigration in The New York Times and is a well-known speaker and author on arts and artist management. Robyn is an internationally recognized specialist in foreign artist taxation and artist business matters, as well as a Co-Author of Artistsfromabroad.org, with an impressive past career in arts administration and management at major venues and arts organizations.

THE OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE! The purpose of this blog is to provide general advice and guidance, not legal advice. One size never fits all. Circumstances and solutions can, and do, vary. Please consult with a professional—legal, medical, or otherwise—familiar with your specific facts, challenges, medications, psychiatric disorders, past-lives, karmic debt, and anything else that may impact your situation before drawing any conclusions, deciding upon a course of action, sending a nasty email, quoting us out of context, or doing anything rash!
Author: Brian Taylor Goldstein, Esq.
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