Nepali Artists Denied Entry Visas to US

The U.S. Embassy in Nepal has blacklisted Nepalese artists from getting visas for the United States. A special kind of visa, the P-3, is issued for artists who are coming to perform in the country. After being blacklisted, some of the artists have started to come here through a visitor or other kind of visa.

Robin Tamang, seen here in the poster of the film “Chadke,” is one of many Nepali actors denied a visa to enter the U.S. (Photo from Nepali Cinema Info Facebook page)

Robin Tamang, seen here in the poster of the film “Chadke,” is one of many Nepali actors denied a visa to enter the U.S. (Photo from Nepali Cinema Info Facebook page)

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 106,325 artists were issued P-3 visas for entry into the U.S. last year. Among them, the number of Nepali artists who received the visa was only 16, with most of those visas granted in the first three months of 2012. After March 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Nepal stopped granting P-3 visas for Nepali artists until further notice.

The move comes after artists started coming to the U.S. and staying permanently, disregarding the timeline and expiration of the visas. In addition, program organizers would send out fake invitations for the visas after receiving money from the artists. After halting the issuing of P-3 visas to artists in Nepal, some artists have still managed to arrive here through tourist or religious visas.

The artists who have tried to apply for a P-3 visa after March 2012 have had their application rejected by the embassy with a notice that it does not grant P-3 visas anymore. One of the artists who was rejected for the visa was told by the embassy, “There are already of lot of Nepali artists in America, therefore we cannot grant anymore visas.”

Just a few months ago, Nepali actor Aryan Sigdel was trying to come here for the filming of a Nepali movie but was denied a visa. Likewise, another Nepali actor, Nandita KC, as well as singers Sunita Dulal and DJ Raj, also had their visa applications rejected. It was reported that they had tried to squeeze in with them some other people who were not in the artistic field.

Another Nepali actor from the film “Chadke,” Robin Tamang, was denied a visa that he applied for a few months earlier. Nearly all Nepali film actors or directors who applied were denied visas. There is no exact count on the number of denials.

The U.S. Embassy is on and off with their restriction on visas for Nepali artists. Looking at the statistics dating back to 1996, the year 2007 had the highest number of P-3 visas granted for Nepali artists with 55. In the same year, many artists were also granted tourist visas. But in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, the U.S. Embassy was very strict with their visa policies, and only two artists got their visas approved in 2002.

From 1996 until now, about 260 Nepali artists have entered the U.S. through a P-3 visa. The statistics per year are as follows:

visas granted

Most of the artists come to the U.S. to perform. Organizers based here invite them for a scheduled event. After receiving the necessary documents, artists submit their application for a P-3 visa. If the authenticity of the organizer and the event is credible, the U.S. visa counselor usually grants the visa to the artists, regardless of their popularity. But if the organizer of the event is deemed fraudulent, the counselor denies the visa even if the artist is one of the top celebrities in Nepal.

Many non-performers have gotten into the U.S. by applying for a P-3 visa pretending to be artists, according to the statistics. In some cases, event organizers invite their friends and family under the guise that they are artists, a practice that has been criticized by Nepali artists.

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