Dancers struggle to obtain visas for Seattle festival | KUOW News and Information

Dancers struggle to obtain visas for Seattle festival

Jun 1, 2017

Organizers of the Seattle International Dance Festival said it’s more challenging to get visas for artists in 2017 than before.

Cyrus Khambatta is the director of the festival. He said some of the prices to get these artists visas have gone up.

“We’re talking about well over $2,000, $2,500, just to apply for a visa,” Khambatta said. “If we don’t do the expedited processing, it’s still around $1,000.”

Khambatta also said the federal government asked for additional paperwork in 2017. One of the documents recently submitted for a Chinese group was 300 pages long.

And he said at one point, the government said due to a lack of available staff they weren’t able to respond to questions about visa applications.

So why go through all this trouble?

“I think it’s important that people recognize we’re doing that work of connecting us to the rest of the world and fighting the isolation that’s occurring from things like the visa issue,” Khambatta said.

The festival kicks off with its first event on Saturday at Denny Park in South Lake Union.