Posts Tagged ‘board term limits’

Backlogs at US Consulates, New USCIS forms, Contract Entirety Clauses, and Board Term Limits

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Performing Arts Division

June 16, 2022


» Backlogs at US Consulates «
» New USCIS forms «
» Contract Entirety Clauses «
» Board Term Limits «

Current USCIS Service Center Processing Times:

Vermont Service Center: 
Standard processing: 4 – 8 weeks
Premium processing: 9 – 10 days

California Service Center: 
Standard Processing 2 – 4 MONTHS! 
Premium Processing 13 – 14 days!

US Consulates Are Significantly Backlogged!
The current slow down at the California Service Centre notwithstanding, the real bad news is that many—not all, but many–U.S. Consulates continue to experience significant backlogs. Artists approved for visas are finding that it can take weeks or months to have their visa stamps issued by a U.S. Consulate. Just within the last few weeks, an artist approved for an O-1 visa found she could not get an appointment for a visa stamp at the Paris Consulate until January 2023!

Whilst some consulates have expanded their interview waiver programme, many continue to be wildly inconsistent with regard to how this is implemented, including whether to grant interview waivers at all. For example, an artist was recently informed by the U.S. Consulate in London that, though he qualified for an interview waiver, it could take “several weeks or months” before he would be able to submit the application and get his visa stamp. Others have found it has taken 3 – 4 weeks for Consulates to return passports with visa stamps. Consulates also continue to be wildly inconsistent in how they grant requests for emergency appointments, with arts visas, of course, sedimenting to the bottom of the bin.

Whilst it is still “officially” possible for anyone, regardless of citizenship, to apply for a visa at any U.S. Consulate in the world where one can get an appointment, some consulates—purportedly to manage workload—are only accepting applications from citizens or residents of the country in which the Consulate is located.

In response to manifold complaints and queries from all sectors, the U.S. Department of State has issued several urgently indeterminate statements, a synopsis of which essentially being as follows:

“Yes, we know there’s a problem. We are very sorry. We are doing our best. We have a lot on our plates rights now. We are currently implementing many solutions which, due to national security, we cannot divulge other than to re-assure you in the vaguest possible terms that these new solutions will be more effective than our previous solutions which in hindsight should have been seen as imprudent in the expectation of their efficacy. Will it help if we continue to blame COVID? We care about you. Really. Every effort is being made towards prioritizing a scheme pursuant to which visa applications will be prioritized based upon a system of discretionary prioritization. The wizard says go away!”

Devastatingly, we are increasingly encountering engagements having to be cancelled or rescheduled where visa petitions were approved, but artists could not get their visas in time to travel. As such, please take this into consideration when planning your timelines and budgets. If you are planning anything for fall 2022 which depends upon a non-US artist, you would be wise to (1) check the current application procedures and timelines for the consulate where the artist will be applying for their visa stamp and (2) seriously consider premium processing at the outset so as to get the petition approved quickly and allow for as much time as possible for the visa stamp application process.

USCIS Has Issued Updated Forms

On May 31, 2022, USCIS released new editions of Form I-129 (used to file for O and P visa Petitions) and Form I-907 (for Premium Processing). Both of these forms are identical in all respects to the prior forms, except with new dates at the bottom. Why did they bother, you say? What was the point? No point. They’re just a bunch of crazy kids.

Legal Issue of the Month:
Contract Entirety Clauses

Look out for what are sometimes called “superseding agreement” or “entirety” clauses. They appear in almost all contracts, usually buried amongst the “legalese” that no one wants to read. They usually say something like this: “This Agreement constitutes the entire Agreement between the parties and any prior understanding or representation of any kind preceding the date of this Agreement shall not be binding upon either party except to the extent incorporated in this Agreement.” It means that emails and discussions are not binding once the contract becomes binding.

So, if you had a series of emails with a presenter confirming that your artist must have a dressing room free of feather pillows, but that never made it into the final engagement contract, and the contract contains an “entirety clause”, then she’s going to need some extra-strength Zyrtec. I encountered this situation in the context of travel arrangements, but the issue is the same–and, no, sending me the chain of emails and texts did not help two days before the date! 

Dear Law and Disorder
Actual Questions We Get Asked and The Answers People Don’t Want


Dear Law and Disorder:

We are a small non-profit that runs a performing arts center. In up-dating our by-laws, its been recommended that we establish term limits for our directors and officers, as well as a formal nominating committee. Do we really need such formalities? We’re very small and don’t have any other committees. Can’t the board itself select its own members and officers? And it seems a mistake to force directors to leave when they are willing to continue to serve on our board. What do you recommend to your clients?

While I am a strong advocate of fixed terms, I never recommend term limits for board members. Why? Because among the most challenging aspects of running a successful non-profit is finding and keeping healthy board members who through wealth, work, or wisdom (as opposed to whining, wasting staff time, or wrongheadedness) contribute to the success and productivity of the organization. Once you are lucky enough to find such pearls, the last thing you want to do is force them to leave! However, at the same time, you need to have a mechanism through which malignant board members can be removed. Such members, if left to metastasize, can quickly chase all the healthy ones away, burn out the staff, and poison the entire operation. Fixed terms where board members can then be re-nominated and re-elected provides you with such flexibility.

On the other hand, term limits for officers can be more appropriate. Why? Because with no term limits, even a beloved president or board chair can quickly become a feared dictator that no one wants to cross, or, just as worse, a benevolent, but ineffective leader who spurns all attempts at needed growth or change. At the end of the president’s term, they can still serve on the board, but no longer gets to wield the mace of supreme authority. Also, in my experience, I have found that those you most want to serve as board presidents or chairs will also be those who do not want to serve more than a few years year whereas those you want to avoid will be those looking to establish a hereditary fiefdom.

Deep Thoughts

“The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by a period of worry and depression.”
John Harvey Jones.”

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GG Arts Law provides a comprehensive range of legal services and strategic support for the performing arts, including: Artist Visas, Taxes, and Touring; Rights & Licensing; Negotiations & Representation; Contracts; Business & Non-Profit Organization & Management; Project Management; and Strategic Consulting & Planning.



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 threatening email, filing a lawsuit, or basically doing anything that may in any way rely upon an assumption that we know what we are talking about or one size fits all!