In 1998, a group of musicians founded Tamizdat, a tax-exempt non-profit with the mission of facilitating international cultural exchange. Tamizdat initially had a wide range of activities: booking festival showcases in the U.S. and Europe, organizing tours, sponsoring events, and for years ran a CD distribution coalition. Early on, however, it became clear that U.S. visa policy is one of the most significant obstacles to international cultural exchange, so Tamizdat set out to establish a sympathetic and affordable artist-oriented visa service designed to help performing artists to navigate the U.S. visa system. In 2014, with artists facing increasing complex legal challenges, Tamizdat teamed up with CoveyLaw, to ensure that every client receives Tamizdat’s renowned efficiency and musician-friendly customer service, while also benefiting from the depth of expertise and representation that only a law firm can provide. In cooperation with CoveyLaw, Tamizdat can provide a unique service for independent performing artists who need a U.S. work visa, but either lack a U.S. petitioner or “sponsor,” or who do not wish for their visa to be tied to a specific U.S. employer (like their label or agent). Together with CoveyLaw, Tamizdat helps arrange visas for over 4000 performing artists every year.

Tamizdat does much more than just sponsor artist visas, however:

  • SHIM:NYC is a 12-month creative and professional residency and mentorship program for international musicians who are persecuted or censored for their work; are threatened on the basis of their political or religious affiliations, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity; have been forcibly displaced; need a respite from dangerous situations; or are from countries experiencing active, violent conflict.
  • TamizdatAVAIL is a pro bono legal assistance hotline for the performing arts.
  • Tamizdat’s “Artist Mobility Forum” (AMF) is an international online community committed to the cause of international artist mobility.
  • Tamizdat’s White Paper on Artist Mobility to the U.S., is an ongoing project is a comprehensive analysis and platform for regulatory reform of the US artist visa process, based on the legal study of thousands of artist visas cases. It has been endorsed by leading arts organizations around the world, and presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the EU’s cultural ministers.
  • Tamizdat Education provides seminars and panels on artist mobility strategies and advocacy at international performing arts conferences, including SXSW (US), WOMEX (UK, GR, ES, DK, PL), Folk Alliance International (US), APAP (US), The Great Escape (UK), M4Music (CH), YouBloom (IR), HWCH (IR), IndieWeek (US), Reeperbahn (DE), Western Arts Alliance (US), Mundial Montreal (CA)l, NXNE (CA), The Edinburgh Fringe (UK), FimPro (MX), CMJ (US), Breakout West (CA), Arts Northwest (US), Halifax Pop Explosion (CA), Amsterdam Dance Event (NL), and Eurosonic (NL). Our attorneys have also presented on artist visa issues at events for the legal profession, including American Immigration Lawyers Association Rome District Chapter Conference, and New York City Bar