NOTE: This visa information pertains only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are legally entitled to enter the United States. For all other situations, consult with the AFM/CFM office in Toronto or with your lawyer and provide them with full information about your status.
Did you know that being a member of the HMG makes it easier – and cheaper – for musicians to obtain a temporary work permit in the United States (known as a P2 Visa)?
As a member of the HMG, local 293, you are a member of the AFM/CFM. The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM/CFM) is recognized by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an authorized petitioner for temporary work permits on behalf of AFM member musicians. Therefore, Canadian members who wish to perform (work) in the United States may apply for non-immigrant work permits through AFM. The AFM provides the exact same level of service as immigration lawyers or visa service agents, at a fraction of the cost.
The AFM provides immigration consulting services to members and non-members alike. However, petitioning for P2 Work Permits is a member-specific service, processed by AFM’s Canadian Office in Toronto exclusively on behalf of Canadian AFM members.
For most musical work in the United States, Canadian musicians require a Classification P2 Work Permit, or other non-immigrant work permit. The AFM/CFM can help with this process, thereby saving AFM/CFM members thousands of dollars in legal fees.
If you are not yet an AFM/CFM member, or if you just joined AFM/CFM specifically to obtain a P2, please contact Cathy Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
If you are an existing AFM/CFM member, please contact the P2 Department in Toronto:
Ari Vangeest—email@example.com, 416-391-5161 (toll free: 1 800 463-6333) ext. 234; Punchita Lertpongtanakij at firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-391-5161 (toll free: 1 800 463-6333) ext. 222.
Please note the deadlines for processing your application when planning your tour. Allow 90 to 120 days and pay the requested fee. Expedited processing is possible, but you must send your application between 20 to 30 days in advance and pay an additional fee required by the DHS immigration service to benefit from this priority processing.
Send Completed P2 Application packages to:
Attn: Artist Immigration Department
American/Canadian Federation of Musicians
Suite 202, 150 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 3E5
All paperwork is carefully reviewed during the process of preparing the formal P2 petition on the artist’s behalf. If you would like to review your application package with an AFM representative, kindly email Ari Vangeest at email@example.com or Punchita Lertpongtanakij at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) is recognized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an authorized petitioner for P2 work permits on behalf of AFM members, and their support personnel. So we can help you with your P2 application in case of any issues.
While the AFM provides consulting services to all musicians, the P2 Work Permit is a member-specific service.
The P2 Work Permit
Processing Times and Fees
The US government charges $ 460 USD for Regular Processing and it is recommended you submit your P2 package at least 90 calendar days prior to your first gig. This is a US government fee, not an AFM/CFM fee. Regular Processing requires a money order payable to “Department of Homeland Security” in the amount of $460 USD.
The US government charges an additional $2,500 USD for Premium Processing, and it is recommended you submit your P2 package at least 20-30 calendar days prior to your first gig. Premium Processing requires 2 separate money orders, both payable to “Department of Homeland Security”, one in the amount of $460 USD, the other $2,500 USD.
For more details, please email Liana White email@example.com with questions on the fee & administrative charges.
NOTE: The AFM has NO control over the U.S. Immigration processing times. US government processing times may increase/decrease without notice. The AFM’s suggested processing timelines are based on our weekly observance of the average turnaround times from submission of applications to receipt of approval. You may contact our office to confirm current times haven’t drastically changed.
Forms and Instructions
We suggest DOWNLOADING/SAVING the files below to your computer BEFORE filling them out.
U.S. Customs no longer issues paper I-94 Departure Records at air and sea ports of entry. Instead, the traveler’s passport will be stamped with their Date of Entry, their visa classification and their Date of Exit (the date by which they must depart the United States). The I-94 information can then be accessed through an online portal and printed out.
Paper I-94 departure records will still be issued at land ports of entry.
Read more about this procedure here: I-94 Frequently Asked Questions
U.S. Foreign Entertainers with Criminal Records Entry to Canada
If it has been less than five years since a charge or conviction, persons will be deemed “criminally inadmissible” to Canada and a Temporary Resident Permit is required instead of filing for a work permit (LMIA).
If the person has been:
Charged but not convicted: Temporary Resident Permit is NOT required.
Charged & Awaiting Trial – or – Warrant for Arrest: Temporary Resident Permit is required, but may not be granted until AFTER the conclusion of the trial.
On Parole: Five years after the completion of the parole period, the person may apply for Rehabilitation (explained further below).
If the offence committed was DUI in most situations, especially when a minimum of five years has not elapsed, persons are not deemed admissible, meaning a Temporary Resident Permit is required. To be certain, especially when there has been more than one DUI charge or if the accident was very serious (i.e. causing severe injury/death) a Canadian Consulate should be contacted as early as possible to ensure the Temporary Resident Permit is not necessary.
Crossing the Border with Musical Instruments and Gear
Musicians crossing the border with instruments and gear are encouraged to apply for an ATA Carnet, a document which enables professionals to bring the tools of their trade across borders easily and without hassle, duties or border fees. Learn more about ATA Carnets from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Canadian Chamber of Commerce – About the ATA Carnet or Information on US Customs and Border Protection.
In the absence of a Carnet, please prepare a manifest (list) of all instruments and gear, including serial numbers and make/model of instruments. If your instrument was purchased outside of Canada, bring the original bill of sale or include the following information on the manifest: the city, state/province, and country where the instrument was purchased. ________________________________________________________________________________
Emergency Medical Travel Insurance
The CFM offers Emergency Medical Travel Insurance at preferred rates through our Discount Savings Program with Union Savings/RBC and CanAm/HUB International Insurance exclusive to members and their families. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
B1 Business Class Visitor Visa
Canadians invited to the United States for showcases and conferences may qualify for a Business Visitor Visa (B-1 Visa).
For assistance in this determining B1 visa eligibility please contact:
Ari Vangeest—email@example.com 416-391-5161 or toll free: 1 (800) 463-6333 ex. 234
You are welcome to submit the B1 package by email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 5 business days prior to entry date.
Musicians from Canada and abroad applying for union consultation for P1, P3 and, O1 permits must contact the AFM’s New York Office: George Fiddler–email@example.com,1 800 762 3444 ext. 231.
Performing in Canada for Musicians from the USA and Abroad
The Canadian government and the CFM (labour movement) are concerned about foreign workers being treated respectfully, paid fairly, and leaving our country better than when they came. To be able to monitor and inspect workplaces in Canada the government created the: Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, and the International Mobility Program.
The International Mobility Program is the program utilized by the performing arts sector.
Below are different scenarios and processes for the foreign artist. Please review and use the appropriate process.
If a foreign artist is coming into Canada to work for 2 weeks or less, and working at many venues:
- A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not required under the International Mobility Program
- A work permit is not required when working in Canada for a “Time-limited engagement”
- Proof of engagement is required upon entry into Canada
- AFM members – are required to also present a cultural exchange letter from the CFM
If a foreign artist is coming into Canada for longer than 2 weeks, is an American citizen and an AFM member but working for various purchasers
- CFM provides a Cultural Exchange letter supporting the tour.
- A work permit is required, and may be approved for up to 3 months.
- The first venue or promoter, or Canadian band leader, would act as Employer and register through the Employer portal https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/partners-service-providers/employer-portal.html.
If a foreign artist is entering into Canada for longer than 2 weeks, is an American citizen and working for one specific employer (including a Canadian based band):
- Then the employer registers with the Canadian government on the Employer Portal https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/hire-foreign-worker/temporary/international-mobility-program.html , pays the fee of $230 per foreign artist, and obtain an Employer offer number and receipt of payment.
- The employer then provides the foreign artist with the employer offer number and the receipt of payment issued by the Employer Portal. This document is shown to the border officers upon arrival at the Canadian border or airport, and allows the processing of the Canadian work permit.
- CFM will process a Cultural Exchange Support Letter for musicians and crew.
- The foreign artist presents these documents along with passport and contract(s) to officer at the border and an employer specific work permit is obtained.
If the foreign artist is coming into Canada for longer than 2 weeks, from a country outside of North America and is working for one specific employer, the following process applies;
- The employer registers with the Canadian government on the Employer Portal https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/hire-foreign-worker/temporary/international-mobility-program.html remits payment of $230 per foreign artist, and obtains an Employer offer number and receipt of payment.
- The employer provides to the foreign artist these documents.
- The foreign artist should also assess their need for a Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (depending on the country they are traveling from. See this link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas-all.asp.
A foreign artist performing with a Canadian orchestra will receive their Letter of Reciprocity through the employing Canadian orchestra.
For the most up-to date information about the International Mobility Program: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/hire-temporary-foreign/international-mobility-program.html
For information and assistance about performing in Canada, please contact:
Guide and Tips for AFM Musicians Traveling with their Instruments
Click here for AFM Flying Guide in Canada, prepared by American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada to help musicians with air travel logistics, including a review of passenger rights, what to consider before purchasing your ticket, packing and caring for instruments, and problem solving.
Click links below for baggage/special items information for major Canadian airlines:
Below is other useful information for musicians flying with their instruments. If you are an AFM member please sign in or register on the AFM site for access to the following Links:
For more information, contact: George Fiddler – Director of Immigration
New York: Phone: 212 869-1330, ext. 231 Toll Free: 1 800 762-3444, ext. 231
Fax: 212 764-4974