On Feb. 8, 2016, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Orrin Hatch introduced the ARTS Act (S.2510), which would enforce the current statutory mandate for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite processing of O and P visas at the agency. Under the legislation, if USCIS does not process an O or P visa within the 14 day time period mandated by current law, the agency would be required to process the case under premium processing at no additional cost. The senators released a joint statement on the bill’s introduction, noting its intent to foster international cultural exchange.
Senators Leahy and Hatch introduced a version of this legislation as an amendment to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill of 2013, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744). At that time, the Senate adopted the amendment on a vote of 69-29.
The bill, according to the senators’ joint press release, is broadly supported by performing arts organizations in the United States. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Senator Leahy serves as Ranking Member, and of which Senator Hatch is a former Chairman and currently a senior member. GT will continue to monitor the bill’s progress and will provide updates as Congress considers the legislation.