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Thursday, April 3, 2008
The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to improve the visa approval process for international artists. By current law, the visa is to be completed in two weeks, but more often takes between two and six months. H.R. 1312, approved by voice vote, extends the time period given to Homeland Security to process nonimmigrant visas for certain types of artists from two weeks to thirty days. If the department fails to meet that deadline, it must provide premium processing services free of charge. As it stands today, each petitioner must pay a $1000 fee for premium processing that ensures a decision in fifteen days. The bill, which applies only to visa applications made by nonprofit arts groups, still needs the Senate’s approval.