A COMPLETE GUIDE TO USA VISAS for Canadian Musicians , Artists , Producers , Songwriters , Bands and Canadian Business Professionals
By Dani Oliva
There are three primary visa options for Canadian musicians , artists , producers , songwriters , and bands to live and work in the U . S .:
P-2 Work Permit ( Artists , bands or musical groups only ) OR
P-1B Visa ( Bands or Groups , similar eligibility criteria to an O-1B visa , mostly appropriate for when you ’ re in a rush !)
O-1B Visa ( Artists , Producers , Songwriters , Music Directors , Music Creatives etc .) Business Meeting and Conference travel options are discussed last in this article .
If you are a musician or in a band early in your career , the easier of the options is a P-2 Work Permit . If you are a producer or a songwriter , you will have to apply for an O-1B , unless you ’ re taking business meetings .
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P-2 Work Permits ( Artists , Bands or Musical Groups only !) Eligibility criteria for a P2 visa :
1 . You must be a Canadian citizen , permanent resident * or have a visa * to live and work in Canada . * Yes , if you are a permanent resident or have a visa to live or work in Canada , you can apply for a P2 visa to live and work in the U . S . However , the requirements to apply are slightly more complicated , and are not outlined on the AFM or CFM (“ A / CFM ”) website . I ’ d recommend you contact an attorney experienced in filing P2s or A / CFM to help .
2 . You must be an artist or in a band . You must be an artist or in a band . If you are a producer or songwriter , you cannot apply for a P2 . You may have been told differently in the past . However , A / CFM has recently clarified that only artists and bands are eligible for P2 work permits . If you have personnel , such as a manager , technicians , or other folks that help you , you can apply for a work permit for them too , but the initial P2 work permit has to be issued for an artist or band .
3 . You must have a reason to be working and living in the U . S . You have to have a reason to be in the U . S ., that may go without saying , but you have to have concrete plans to perform , record , song write in sessions , and / or attend meetings in the U . S .
4 . You must provide an itinerary . You have to provide an itinerary of dates and places you will be working in the U . S . for the duration of your work permit . That means , if you have plans to be in the U . S . for the entire duration of the work permit ( one year ) you have to outline your plans for one year .