Important Visa info for SxSW & WMC visitors - MusicNSW

SXSW and WMC are fast approaching, and if you want to get US visas in time for these events and avoid the Premium Processing fee now is the time to get started.

Tamizdat offers a Visa Service, arranging working visas for artists wishing to perform in the US. They’re not for profit and charge significantly less than commercial agencies. With 6 years of experience and a client list that include Mute Records, Beggar’s Banquet Records, Domino Records, Ninja Tunes Records, The British Council, the CMJ Music Marathon, and the South By Southwest Music Festival – they’re definitely worth checking out.

Who needs a US visa?
Most likely you do. If you’re performing before a paying audience and you’re not a US citizen, US law states that you must have a work visa. Unfortunately, the fact that you’re probably not getting paid does not exempt you from the US Government’s requirement.

How much does it cost?
Tamizdat’s rate for a whole band is $950 (including government and union fees). The government and union fees only total $390, but the application process is so complex and annoying, most artists hire a visa service to do the dirty work. Please note: depending on when you apply, it may be necessary to use the US Government’s “Premium Processing” service which costs another $1000 / group, and if you’re traveling with a crew, there are significant other costs you’ll face obtaining their work visas. Also please note that most visa recipients will have to pay another $100 at your local embassy for an issuing fee.

How long does it take?
More than three weeks, and less than four months. (How’s that for unhelpful?) How long it takes really depends on two factors: luck and how much you are willing to pay the US Government. If you want to avoid US government’s hideous “Premium Processing” fee, you should leave at least three months. On the other hand, if you decide to go at the last minute, we’ll probably be able to sort it out for you.

How long do the visas last?
Up to one year for members of groups, and up to three years for soloists and their backing bands. This is the good news: US work visas are multiple-entry, and most are used for quite a bit more US touring than just SXSW.

For more info contact: Matthew Covey via email on or call +1 212 260 8444