Slightly off topic but...
"A foreign artist seeking authorization to perform in the United States must navigate a system that involves a pair of government departments. Homeland Security, created in 2003, evaluates the initial application and then, if approval is granted, the State Department, assuming it is satisfied with the results of an in-person interview with the performer, issues a visa at an embassy abroad.
Congress requires the process to be financially self-sustaining, rather than depend on taxpayer support, which in practice means that fees are typically higher than those of other countries. Homeland Security even offers an expedited premium processing fee of $1,225 per application over and above the standard $325 filing fee that is supposed to guarantee a response within two weeks, but arts administrators complain that the agency sometimes fails to meet its own deadline.
As part of the process the arts group sponsoring performances in the United States must also submit written proof of the artists qualifications, all duly translated into English. Even then there is no guarantee of timely approval of a visa request, since there are often additional requests for evidence of a performers artistic worth or personal background. The government advises performers and ensembles to submit paperwork at least 90 days before they hope to receive a visa, but arts administrators say that delays of up to six months are not unusual.
Government agencies say that the enhanced procedures they have adopted are needed to safeguard American citizens. We want to facilitate legitimate travel to the U.S., but we need to keep security as our highest priority, said a State Department spokesman, who invoked department rules that do not allow him to be identified by name.
In many cases foreign troupes must also pay a consultation fee of up to $500 to an American union to certify that its performances will not adversely affect the interests of American artists. Its a revenue stream for the unions, with no cap in sight, Mr. Ginsburg said.
As a result, some large ensembles are now simply avoiding the United States. In 2006, for example, the Hallé orchestra of Manchester, England, canceled an American tour that was to include a performance at Lincoln Center after orchestra administrators calculated that complying with visa regulations for a group of more than 100 musicians and staff members was going to cost them more than $70,000."