Do I have to get a B1 visa to perform only at official showcases at SXSW?

If you are not eligible for Visa Waiver (“ESTA”) you’ll have to have a U.S. visa to enter the country. A B1 visa has historically been the easiest to get that should be sufficient for this purpose. If you are eligible for Visa Waiver (“ESTA”), then a B1 visa should not be required. In the past, having one has been a good idea because it shows the U.S. officials at passport control that your reason for travel has already been reviewed and approved by an official at a U.S. embassy or consulate; this can minimize the risk of a misunderstanding on your arrival. However, given current and ongoing capacity issues at many U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, obtaining a B-1 visa may not be possible in time for SXSW, in which case, the U.S. government has previously indicated that ESTA is legally sufficient for official showcase performances at SXSW. 

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