It costs up to £5000 to get a British band visas for the USA – and £30 to get an American band into the UK – the special relationship?
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Even when writing this down it seems ridiculous.
Our ‘special friends’ across the Atlantic. The country that the anti Europeans cling onto quoting the ‘special relationship’ brazenly put us in our place by charging UK bands up to £5000 to get visas to play gigs in the USA whilst American bands get charged £30 to come to the UK.
Not only this they nearly always hand over the visas late meaning bands have to cancel flights and gigs and sometimes whole tours in the scramble. If you cancel your tour you don’t get a refund or even an apology.
You get nothing.
The situation is beyond joke.
And it needs changing.
We have been going on about the visa situation between the UK and the USA for years now.
We actively started a campaign in 2012 aided by great support from Kerry McCarthy MP.
The music industry were not much help until we got meetings in parliament and then everyone came. The visa agencies seemed to actively be no help – famously at the meeting at the American embassy they tried to justify their £800 change for processing the bands forms because musicians were ‘too stupid’ to fill them in.
Despite the campaign, despite questions recently asked in Parliament by Nigel Adams MP and despite the Musicians Union working on our behalf the situation has actually got worse.
The trouble is the Americans won’t listen.
It’s beyond frustrating. We all feel ripped off. Our friends on the American music scene are equally appalled but no-one listens to them either. What is the solution? For how much longer do we have to tolerate being ripped off like this?