By Brian Taylor Goldstein, Esq.

Except for those of you who may have been exploring other dimensions for the past few days, almost everyone else on the planet has been following the flurry of recent developments in the US as our country falls into the slipstream of chaos. We felt it was important to clarify exactly what is going on (at least as of Sunday, January 29, 2017) and how it impacts the arts.

On January 27, 2017, Dictator-in-Chief Trump signed an Executive Order that, among other provisions, immediately “suspends” the immigrant (“green card”) and nonimmigrant (Os, Ps, Fs, Hs, etc.) entry of citizens from the following countries for 90 days from January 27, 2017: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Artists from these countries will not be able to enter the US, including those artists who already possess an I-797 Approval Notice or even who have already been issued an actual visa. As of January 29, 2017, those holding green cards may, in theory, re-enter the U.S., but they, too, should expect additional scrutiny, delays, and possible refusals.

It should be noted that the travel ban will not automatically be lifted after the 90 days.

Also, this order not only applies to anyone who holds a passport from any of the 7 designated countries, but also to dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country, as well as a non-designated country. So, for example, if an artist were to hold BOTH an EU passport as well as an Iraqi passport, that artist would be subject to the bar. “Theoretically, dual nationals holding US citizenship remain able to re-enter the U.S., but they should expect additional scrutiny and delays as well.

It is unclear whether or not the travel ban applies to people who are former citizens of the 7 countries or who may have merely traveled to one of these countries. However, they should expect additional scrutiny and delays as well.

Additional changes to the visa rules, regulations, and restrictions have been threatened in the upcoming weeks. However, the expectation is that most of these will apply to H-1B visas (employees with specialized skills and academic degrees), which rarely, if ever, apply to artists and F visas (students), which will apply to artists attending school and training programs in the US. We would also not be surprised if Dictator Trump eventually slams the door again on Cubans, as well.

For now, aside from those artists impacted directly and immediately, everyone else should take a breath and keep the following in mind:

1) Do not panic!

We’re all doing that for you!

 2) Stop relying on ESTA

There is going to be even more scrutiny and less forgiveness that ever before with regard to artists attempting to enter the US on visitor visas (B-1/B-2) and/or ESTA status. We’ve have said this 1000 times, but we keep getting questions about this: Artists cannot perform on visitor visas and/or on ESTA status. Not for free. Not for education. Not for schools. Not for training. Not if no tickets are sold. Not no way! Not no how! If any US manager, agent, presenter, venue, or academic institutions tells you otherwise—RUN AWAY!

 3) Plan ahead. This has always been important, but now it has become critical. In other words, don’t schedule any quick connecting flights or wait until the last minute to file visa petitions and schedule consulate interviews.

Lastly, because the situation can change at any time, it is critical that you consistently check with reliable sources for updates and developments before making any travel decisions, applying for visas, or booking foreign artists. We strongly recommend:

1) www.artistsfromabroad.org

2) The USCIS website: www.uscis.gov

3) The US Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov

4) Licensed immigration attorneys


For additional information and resources on this and other legal, project management, and business issues for the performing arts, visit ggartslaw.com

To ask your own question, write to lawanddisorder@musicalamerica.com

All questions on any topic related to legal, management, and business issues will be welcome. However, please post only general questions or hypotheticals. Questions will be answered ONLY in future blogs. GG Arts Law reserves the right to alter, edit or, amend questions to focus on specific issues or to avoid names, circumstances, or any information that could be used to identify or embarrass a specific individual or organization. All questions will be posted anonymously and/or posthumously.




The purpose of this blog is to provide general advice and guidance, not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney familiar with your specific circumstances, facts, challenges, medications, psychiatric disorders, past-lives, karmic debt, and anything else that may impact your situation before drawing any conclusions, deciding upon a course of action, sending a nasty email, filing a lawsuit, or doing anything rash!




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