Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Intersection of Music and Immigration

A foreign national may apply for lawful permanent residence status (green card), and seek a waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirements, by establishing that his or her admission to permanent residence would be in the National Interest. The applicant must establish that his/her proposed services will be in an area of substantial intrinsic merit and will have a national benefit, and that the alien has some track record of success in his or her field.

So is work in Music in the national interest?  In the eyes of USCIS, it may be.  In the not-too-distant past, the Vermont Service Center granted a national interest waiver petition for a clarinetist with a Maters Degree in Music and six years of experience as a performer of classical and jazz music and as a teacher of music workshops and programs.  The waiver was based on the applicant’s dedicated promotion and performance of works by contemporary American composers, including some written especially for him, and on his documented commitment to making serious music more accessible to low-income urban and rural communities.

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