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International Artist Access

International Artist Access

FAI response to Executive Order by President Trump

FAI, and a coalition of leading cultural sector organizations, invites and encourages you to contact U.S. State Representatives in Washington and U.S. Embassies abroad to encourage them to retain artist access to U.S. work visas despite the January 27, 2017 Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump.  

“Now more than ever we need to encourage cultural exchange across borders. Public access to global views through music is key to appreciating our commonality and understanding our differences. Restricting artist access to the US impacts countless non-profit presenters and their audiences, and is counterproductive to our collective social and creative growth. Additionally, it thwarts the potential for artists to build reciprocal relationships.”  
       - Aengus Finnan, Executive Director of FAI

FAI issued the following letter to its entire membership on February 6, 2017:


Letter to Members

Dear Folk Alliance International Member,

We are writing for your assistance with an urgent matter that is vital to all international artists, agents, presenters, and anyone who employs non-United States citizens in the U.S.

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order designed to impede U.S. visa issuance and admissions procedures for individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. 

The far-reaching scope of the order - as well as its constitutionality - is in question, but for at least 90 days following the order, the ability of guest artists from these countries to enter the U.S. will be at risk, including those who already possess an approved O or P nonimmigrant visa. 

We are asking that our members living in the U.S. contact their Senator or representative in Washington and ask them to retain access to Visas for the international artists impacted by the Executive Order so that we can maintain opportunities for worldwide international cultural exchange. We also encourage those of you living outside the U.S. to contact the nearest U.S. embassy with the same request.

As you know, nonprofit arts organizations across America provide an important public service and advance international diplomacy by presenting foreign guest artists from across the globe in performances, educational events, and cultural programs that are highly valued by audiences across the U.S., in communities large and small.

International cultural exchange embraces a diversity of viewpoints and contributes to international peace and mutual understanding.

In addition, any travel ban for nonimmigrant artists will cost artists (American and International) important employment opportunities, inflict economic harm on the U.S. Cultural sector, and have a long-lasting, chilling effect on the ability of U.S. artists to tour, perform, and create art abroad.

A year ago Folk Alliance International joined a coalition of organizations across the country under the umbrella of the Performing Arts Visa Working Group. Together we called for support of the Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, S.2510

The coalition includes the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Americans for the Arts, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), League of American Orchestras (LAO), The Recording Academy, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and others.

In the past, Congress repeatedly expressed bipartisan support for improving the U.S. artist visa process. Folk Alliance International believes now is the time for the U.S. to ease the visa burden for international artists, not create new barriers. 

As the Department of Homeland Security takes next steps in its review of national security measures, we stand united with our coalition partners in opposing the recent travel ban, calling for retained access to artist visas, and supporting opportunities for world-wide cultural exchange.

We urge you to learn more about the Executive Order and then write your legislators to let them know why it is important that they retain travel access and oppose travel restrictions for international artists.

• Learn more about the Executive Order through the Artists From Abroad website.
Write to your senator or representative in Washington (U.S. citizens), or
Write to the nearest U.S. embassy (non-U.S. residents).
• Ask friends and peers to express opposition via social media, email, or word of mouth.
• Read about current travel guidelines/issues on the FAI website.

We believe it is vital that all international artists be able to perform in the United States and hope that you will voice your support to retaining travel access, and opposition to proposed travel bans that would impact this.

Thank you for your attention to this request,


Aengus Finnan
Executive Director


Ellen Stanley
Chair, Advocacy Committee, FAI Board of Directors

Folk Alliance International, 512 Delaware Street, Kansas City MO 64105 • 816-221-FOLK (3655) •

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