VISA UNION CONSULTATIONS FOR ARTISTS COMING TO THE U.S.A. TO PERFORM~
1. REQUIREMENT FOR UNION VISA CONSULTATION:
According to current U.S. Federal Immigration law which took effect on April 1, 1992, all performers and their support staff members coming to the United States to perform must have a union consultation letter in the appropriate category from the union with jurisdiction covering their area of performance or employment.
2. AGVA UNION JURISDICTION AND TYPE OF PERFORMERS COVERED:
AGVA’s jurisdiction covers musical and variety performers in live performances in non-book revues, comedians, skaters, circus acts, certain lecture and speaking artists, certain cabaret and night club performers, and sports-people appearing in non-competitive entertainment shows.
AGVA does not cover actors or performers in plays (contact Actors’ Equity), opera-ballet-modern dance or classical music performers (contact AGMA, American Guild of Musical Artists), musicians (contact American Federation of Musicians) unless they also sing or dance or otherwise perform in addition to playing an instrument, or performers appearing in non-live performances such as those employed for television, radio, film, or internet.
If the primary reason for the performance is a live one and in AGVA’s jurisdiction (but incidentally it is also taped during its primary live performance function), it may be also covered by an AGVA union consultation. If the primary reason for the performance is broadcast or internet rather than “live”, it would be covered by another union - SAG or AFTRA.
3. APPLYING FOR AGVA UNION VISA CONSULTATION - WHERE TO SUBMIT MATERIALS:
All applications for AGVA union consultations must be submitted by mail, direct delivery, or courier services (such as Fed Ex, UPS, etc.) to the AGVA New York office at:
363 7th Avenue 17th Floor
New York, NY 10001-3904
Do NOT submit any immigration material to AGVA’s West Coast office or any other regional AGVA office or address. All immigration matters are handled only out of AGVA’s National Office in New York listed above.
AGVA does NOT accept any faxes for immigration matters at any time. Any faxes sent to AGVA via facsimile are discarded unread and unanswered. We do not accept e-mails or e-mail attachments for visa matters.
If submissions for union consultation are delivered in person to the AGVA New York office, they will be processed in the same manner as those received by other means (such as mail, messenger, or overnight courier). They will not be written on the spot while you wait.
4. WHAT VISA MATERIALS TO SUBMIT TO AGVA:
Submission to AGVA should include copies (not originals) of all materials being submitted to the U.S. Government for visa applications, including the properly completed I-129 form. COPIES OF THE "INFORMATION/PHOTO" PAGE OF EACH APPLICANT'S CURRENT PASSPORT MUST BE SUBMITTED. No material can be returned to you.
5. PROCESSING FEE:
A certified check or money order for $300 processing fee made out to “AGVA” or “American Guild of Variety Artists” must accompany the immigration consultation application to AGVA. Only bank checks, money orders or Attorney Company checks will be accepted. No personal checks. PLEASE DO NOT STAPLE CHECK TO PAPERWORK.
A separate fee of $300 is due for each separate petition requiring a union consultation letter which is being filed (but not for each person on any individual petition). If more than one petition requires a letter (for example, O-1 and O-2 petitions for an act and its accompanying support personnel), the processing fees may be combined in one check.
Each letter from AGVA requires a $300 processing fee. Attempting to combine O-1 and O-2 on one petition, or P-1 and P-1S on one petition will not reduce the separate processing fees needed since in each of these samples cited, two consultation letters would be required from AGVA (i.e. one for O-1 and one for O-2. Or one for P-1 and a second letter for P-1S).
6. EXPEDITING SERVICE:
Unlike the Federal Government’s visa office, AGVA does not have an expedited service at an additional fee for union visa consultations.
7. CONSULTATION TIME-LINE AND CONSULTATION LETTER PROCESS:
All visa consultations are processed in the order in which they are received. There are NO exceptions to this process, and there are no excuses which can bump you to the “head of the line” ahead of other applicants. Our expected turn-around time can be up to two weeks, depending on our case load.
It is your responsibility to get materials in your cases to the union and to the U.S. Government on time. With all due respect, we have heard every excuse in the book, and none of them are applicable. Consultations are processed in the order received, period!!
Return of AGVA consultation letter to you by fax: All union consultation letters are faxed to the fax number specified in your cover letter. Please specify if you would like us to also mail out your letter. We usually processed within 10 business days of receipt (this is an estimated turn-around time and is not set in stone as response time is based on case-load, time of the year, and the possible need for extra information in a specific case).
8. MATERIALS SUBMITTED TO THE INCORRECT UNION:
Honest mistakes in sending materials to the wrong union may sometimes be rectified if AGVA forwards your visa material to the appropriate union. This is not our obligation. Sometimes the material sent to us for cases we cannot cover is, instead, returned to you.
In some cases, if there appears to be an honest mistake, the processing fee to AGVA may be returned, but if it appears to be an instance of obviously trying to avoid the proper union, union-shopping, or not reading the simple jurisdictional guidelines provided by AGVA, the other unions, and the U.S. Government, AGVA reserves the right to retain the processing fee after returning the material to you, or forwarding it to the correct union.
If you have questions as to whether AGVA has jurisdiction over a performing attraction for visa purposes, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and fully describe the act. AGVA will respond in writing by email. Do not phone for such information, as phone calls may only delay a response to you.
9. PROGRESS REPORTS:
AGVA does not give progress reports on cases, as the turn-around time is too short under normal circumstances. If you have not received your letter within two weeks, please send us an email stating details of your request. Thank you.