Yesterday was another triumph for Charlotte in our office. Craig, Rochi and I were at the US Embassy yesterday getting our work visas for The Cardinals tour. Inevitably the process is bureaucratic and each time we go through the process it more requires information to be submitted. When all the information is gathered and the case has been made that there is no one in the US who can do the job we are going there to do then precisely the correct photographs have to be taken and presented in digital and physical form. You need to make an appointment with the embassy and present yourself at the designated time Entertainers, for that is what we claim we are, have an early slot, 8am.
As you would imagine security is high, like an airport but you can’t take your laptop in. Entrepreneurial pharmacies in the neighborhood do a brisk business in VISA related support – photos, internet access and storing laptops (£3 per stay).
Once inside procedures for us are swift and painless. Wait for your number to come up, hand over your passport and documentation, have your finger prints scanned. Wait a bit more, have a interview which has never been more than a couple of basic questions about our planned activities, then you can return home, your passport follows by couriers a few days later.
We got through: Graeme, Gerard and Harry will follow on soon.
This is the procedure for UK artists visiting the US, it’s fiddly and costs a bit but it’s not actively controversial. I imagine if you are running London International Festival of Theatre and you are trying to get a whole bunch of artists from the Middle East or North Africa into the UK it must be considerably more taxing.