If I am an international act, do I need to apply for a visa to perform at SXSW Music Festival?


Eligibility for Work Visa
Foreign artists entering the U.S. to perform both at SXSW and at ANY OTHER public performance, whether for compensation or not, must obtain work visas.  In general, these work visas will be either an O or P visa , depending on the specific situation.  If you need professional help applying for one of these work (O or P) visas, a list of attorneys and agencies is provided in the International Visa Information’ section. Canadian citizens need not obtain actual O or P visas, but they must follow the process leading up to them.


Eligibility under the Visa Waiver Program
Citizens of 38 countries may be eligible to register under ESTA and enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program(VWP) or apply for a B visa instead. While the odds of success entering under Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are favorable, the consequences of being denied entry are determined by Customs Border Patrol agent during your screening at the port of entry. We encourage you to  be very careful when using the VWP Program to perform at SXSW, the guidelines to do so are very strict.


Foreign artists who qualify under the ESTA and are allowed to enter under the VWP for cultural exchange and showcasing purposes only at SXSW Music and Media conference and nothing else. Any performance outside of the scheduled evening showcases, or scheduled with any entity other than SXSW, LLC is considered non-official and may jeopardize entry to the country.


They cannot accept any paid performances in the U.S. performing at any non- official event PAID OR UNPAID places you  at risk of FINANCIAL LOSS,  BEING DENIED ENTRY TO THE US, BEING BARRED PERMANENTLY FROM PARTICIPATING UNDER THE VWP, AND, POSSIBLY, BEING BANNED from travel to the US for up to 5 years, OFFICIAL SXSW showcases and parties will be listed on http://www.sxsw.com.  If you are unsure whether an event is official or not, contact us at music@sxsw.com.


UK Artists
UK Artists supported by AIM (Association of Independent Music) and any other UK entity providing assistance must follow their visa guidelines to enter the U.S.


*Canadian Citizens
Except for Canadian citizens, foreign artists entering the U.S. ​solely to perform at SXSW must either secure a B visa or enter by way of the 90-day Visa Waiver Program. For more information, visit http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/visit/visitor.html as well as our general visa FAQ (http://support.sxsw.com/forums/22301351-International-Visa).
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