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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?



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  1. And Brit bands who take the risk and ‘go tourist’ (ahem…) risk deportation and subsequently being banned from the USA…

  2. The solution is to petition the President. The White House has agreed to investigate any issue that is raised and presented with 100,000 signatures. I suggest this is a place to start. Individuals can also write to their Congressional representatives to raise the issue. Where the the American Musicians Union stand on this issue?

  3. The situation is no better for Canadian bands going to the US either. The cost of visas is insanely prohibitive, made worse by the fact that touring Canada alone is almost impossible to make even pocket change from due to the huge distances between cities. It’s god damn ridiculous.

  4. Oh please. Your visas are insanely hard to acquire as well, the cheap cost of this particular badge being possibly the only outlier. I have to pay an arm and a leg just to apply to remain here for 2 years, plus it expects me to have 100 grand in the bank or a benefactor who makes X amount a year as one of its insane requirements. And you think the US thinks it’s special on the subject of immigration?

  5. You could petition our government to increase the US visa into the UK to match there,s even the entrance visa paid to enter the US is higher than entrance into the UK maybe we should insist it is made equal

  6. Why doesn’t Britain just raise their visa price to match. Maybe the US will notice then and begin sensible talks and lower the price.

  7. My experience:

    7 x P1 Visas for band and crew for three years
    = $3,000, or $142 per person, per year

    1 x O1 and 2 x O2s for three years
    = $3,000 or $333.33 per person per year

    Our return flights cost more than twice the latter figure

    • $3000 just to get visas to tour the USA? that’s ridiculous – how can anyone afford this? no wonder we don’t get to see any good british bands any more. The only bands that can get in must be spoilt rich kids or the rubbish that major labels and music biz managers sign up.

      • One solution is for all the English bands to head to Mexico and just cross the boarder. But seriously my take on Bands being priced out is that it is a form of control, and every industry, just like the music industry is full of constraints so those that have the power do not lose that power.

    • My experience…US visa people charged $800, UK visa then charged $400 for processing forms and arranging meeting at embassy. Then we were charged about $100 per band member and then we had to go for interview at american embassy – £80 per member return in train for a one minute interview – we had to go the night before because we live a long way from London! that mean cheap hotel on top – then they managed to get us the visas two weeks after the tour started! crazy shambles and a rip off.

      • Hi Lenny .
        My band are meant to be performing in the USA next year , We are unsigned and have been offered a slot on a big festival, but going by this feed I’m guessing its a no go this is a total downer for us if you could email me an advice that would be great cheers .


  8. Same applies to anyone visiting the UK from out of Europe… Risiculously high prices for a tourist visa + you need to show large amounts of money untouched in the bank for a given period (i.e. sitting in the bank with no movement for months, who uses their money like that even if they have a large income?). I’m from Turkey and getting into the US as a visitor is very very easy compared to the UK.

  9. Bloody Yanks just want to make as much money out of the visiting workforce and tourists etc. My daughter works on cruise ships out of Miami. Was required to visit American Embassy underwent strict investigation, she was even asked about my wife and l and our parents. Needs to renew every 2 years and undergoes the same checks. Loves to visit The Big Apple and when she visits is a tourist so needs to obtain an ESTA. Sadly she won’t take my advice and stop going. If people hit them in the pocket they’ll soon listen. Whereas Americans if they considered an item is too expensive they boycott it, price usually drops back. Use their own methods and they might just listen

  10. I believe it started with Ronald Reagon. One, “Why do we need Britsh bands when we have good American bands right here”.
    Two and most important his War on Drugs. Is it Bullshit?? Yes it is.
    It is just as bad trying to get into Canada. A friend of mine was DJing across the border from Michigan. I was bringing him some vinyl I was stopped at border they went through every piece and ov course wanted to know why I was bringing it in to Canada. That led to custom officials going to the club and talking to my friend. As they stated:”we have plenty of people who can dj here” I didn’t realize my friend actually had dual citizenship so it ended up not a problem.

  11. whats going to happen when we leave the eu , will we all need work permits in every European country ?????

  12. Borrow kit when you get over there on standard flights as individuals? Hire kit? Maybe easier said than done I hear some say, but just a thought.

  13. Its such a bunch of bullshit. I did Punk Rock Picnic for years and never did UK bands because of this. Then the year we did they couldnt get in. Its all bullshit.

  14. The solution is to charge US bands the same amount in the UK and use that money to refund the fees paid by UK bands and eventually use it as a floating fund that UK musicians can use to pay the fees up front. Like Trump getting Mexico for the “wall” we can get the USA to pay their own visa fees

  15. For years UK Bands have had to crack the American market before cracking their own at home in the UK …. The question why does America need British Musicians or bands is quite obvious …. British bands Tour and American ordinances want to see said British Bands

    I think the whole Working Visa thing stinks …. After all where does American history come from ? Quite a lot of BRITISH HERITAGE !

  16. Just skip the USA, problem solved. Any band can tour 366 straight days a year without hitting the US, so what’s the fuss besides the injustice? On the other hand, who the fuck wants to visit the USA anyway?


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