Message to our American fans
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We, the IN TRANCE band, get many e-mails every week from you, American fans, asking us when we are going to play in your area someday. We thank you all very much and we would be so pleased to play the best of Scorpions music for each of you with our awesome show. The USA is the Promised Land for hardrock bands, and especially for tribute bands looking for a receptive audience. We all are guys very sympathetic to the US people, our neighbors, and most of our culture is directly linked and inspired to the American culture. After all, our hometown, Quebec City, is not so far from the US border.

 

But here comes the problem, the border, more precisely the laws and rules for Canadian and foreign musicians and artists journeying to the US territory for a very short or long stay. These laws are very strict and are written by the US Immigration and Naturalization Services, the INS. We have all the documents published by the INS for Artist visa application. For the INS, we come into the US to steal the job of someone else. For the INS, we are aliens, terrorists, drug and weapon smugglers, not simple musicians coming in the US to give good times to American Scorpions fans. However, we all know the politics of the INS do not reflect the opinion of most of US citizens.

 

It's not so simple to get in any US Territory with a couple of guitars. Most people and concert promoters would think "Hey were neighbors, you just need your passport to come in!" No, it's not simple like that. To be fully legal, one of the ways to get Customs Clearance is that the booking agency hiring us would have to petition to the INS to make applications to get us visas and proper paperwork to cross the border without any problems. The other way is that we have to be members of the American Federation Of Musicians (AFM), a US/Canada musicians union that may help you get your paperwork to the INS to get a P-2 artist visa for your band. Visas are very expensive and let's speak frankly, a pain in the ass to get. The amount of documents needed by the INS to process the application is so huge that most musicians with a modest income, like us, choose not to cross the US border and stay frustrated in their country for the rest of their lives. The whole "visa" procedure may take up to 6 months. Whether you are the real Scorpions or IN TRANCE, the ultimate Scorpions tribute band, the application process and the cost is the same.

 

The bottom line is that the INS just don't want non-US resident musicians to play inside the US territory. They don't care that you sold millions of records or that you are the best tribute to that band that sold millions of records. The INS set those rules up to stop all the illegal immigrants that flows in US territory to settle and make a living. We don't want to settle in the USA. We just want to go in your country, make one or two shows and come back home.

 

Even if you have already made payments to the INS for your visa processing, your application may be rejected for a simple detail or technicality. The cost to process the visa application is not  very clear, but we heard that some people spent many hundreds dollars to get visas. $1000USD if you want it rush (Premium Process). Most artists hire a lawyer to get all the job done and this is an added fee. The actual time to know if you are allowed to play in the US is around six months these days. Quite a long time, especially if you applied to play only for one or a couple of shows. Things seems to be more complicated since 9/11, and we understand this.

 

The current trend to play in the US is to cross the border as visitor and get leased drums, bass and guitar amps. This is what most booking agencies tell us to do, claiming it’s safe and legal. This is very illegal and if you get caught playing in the US illegally, you risk a 5-year ban from any US territory. We can’t risk that. Some of us have to cross the US border on a weekly basis for other interests. We have already performed in the US on a short tour, and being put under detention for an hour in a small office by US Customs agents is an experience that can ruin the fun of a touring rock band.  We were allowed to play in the US, but the Customs agents told us that maybe there will be no “next time”.

 

Recently, many Canadian bands were not allowed to play in the US and turned back home. If any of you know a way to get us in US territory without any trouble, some ways to get Customs clearance, please let us know. We are proud to be Canadians, but as rock musicians, let’s say that we were not born the right side of the border.

 

                                 Peace and ROCK YOUR LIFE,

 

                     IN TRANCE, the ultimate tribute to Scorpions and Scorpions ambassadors