Hollywood’s Overseas Talent Facing Hurdles With Trump Travel Ban

Hollywood’s immigration lawyers are working overtime as they try to help overseas talent deal with the repercussions of President Trump’s travel ban.

The ban affects visa holders from seven countries, including Iran, Syria and Sudan. Actors and musicians with passports from those countries — even those with dual citizenship in other countries, such as the United Kingdom or Canada — now find themselves unable to travel to the U.S. for work.

“Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” said attorney Lorraine D’Alessio, who has many entertainment clients who are affected. “They’re aware that they cannot travel now. They’ll have to turn down jobs.”

Overseas workers typically obtain an O-1 visa to work in the U.S., which is open to those who possess “extraordinary ability” in the arts, sports, and other fields. Under Trump’s executive order, visa holders — including O-1 visas — from the seven countries are barred from entering the country for 90 days.

“That is already effecting delays in productions of all sorts,” said attorney Richard Tashjian, who is based in Glendale. “There’s a lot of Iranian talent out there.”

Related Content Ellen DeGeneres Responds to Trump’s Travel Ban Using ‘Finding Dory’

Tashjian said he is working with an Armenian singer who was born in Syria, and is trying to come to the U.S. for a concert tour. Over the weekend, the singer went in for an interview at the U.S. embassy in Armenia, but was turned away.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to take for him to get a visa,” Tashjian said. “The promoter may end up having to cancel all the shows and refile everything.”The ban also affects foreign citizens currently in the U.S. on O-1 visas. They can no longer leave the country — either for work or family trips — for fear of being unable to return.

“A lot of practitioners are advising their clients, ‘Don’t leave the U.S.,'” said attorney Heidy Trombi. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Alan Klein, an attorney who advises studios on immigration issues, said he began warning clients weeks ago to expedite their plans if they wanted to hire Middle Eastern actors.

“It was apparent he wasn’t fooling around,” Klein said, speaking of Trump.

Related Content MPAA’s Chris Dodd: Studios ‘Concerned About Impact’ of Trump’s Travel Ban

Klein said he had some clients who were stranded at LAX over the weekend. “They’ve all been finally let in, but there were people that did have quite a few hours to wait at inspection,” he said.

Initially, green card holders were swept up in the order. That directive was later reversed, though it appears green card holders may still experience delays.”It’s constantly evolving,” said attorney Jeffrey Ehrenpreis. “Every day it seems like there’s something new.”

More Biz

  • Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

    Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Moved to 2021

    The Songwriters Hall of Fame has rescheduled their 51st Annual Induction & Awards Gala originally set for June 11, 2020 to June 10, 2021, at the Marriott Marquis New York, the organization announced today. In making the announcement, SHOF President & CEO, Linda Moran, stated, “In facing the reality of the future being unknown and the extraordinary number [...]

  • Disney Plus

    New Date Set for Disney Plus Hotstar Launch in India

    The slightly delayed India launch of streaming platform Disney Plus Hotstar is now set for Friday. The service will be available in two price tiers. Disney Plus VIP subscribers get access to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bollywood films, Hotstar originals, unlimited live sports and Star TV serials for INR 399 ($5.30) a year. For [...]

  • San-Sebastian

    San Sebastian, Zurich to Take Up SXSW, Tribeca Titles at Newly Created Film Markets

    The San Sebastian and Zurich film festivals have teamed to launch new film markets that will cater to the gaps created by the cancellation of SXSW and the postponement of Tribeca due to the coronavirus pandemic. The programming of both fall festivals will feature titles originally scheduled for spring fests SXSW and Tribeca. The markets [...]

  • Sundance Film Festival Placeholder

    Sheffield Doc/Fest Rejigs With Fall Programming, Virtual Forums in Lieu of Festival

    The Sheffield Doc/Fest pitching forums, MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Talent Market are to take place virtually in June, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The rest of the June festival is being replaced by a series of programs that will take place on weekends through the fall. The planned programming will include film screenings, talks, panels, [...]

  • China money and stock markets

    Chinese Economy Makes Surprise Rebound in March

    Economic data published Tuesday showed that China’s manufacturing and services sectors both expanded in March, following the February lockdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak. But the World Bank warned of further weakness. China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index, published by the National Bureau of Statistics, showed a figure of 52.3 for March, a measure where 50 [...]

  • Emilia Clarke AoA

    'Game of Thrones' Star Emilia Clarke Offers Dinner to Raise Money for Coronavirus Relief

    Twelve lucky people will get to eat dinner with the Mother of Dragons. “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke is asking people around the world to donate money to SameYou, her charity that assists people recovering from brain injuries and strokes. The organization’s new initiative aims to make beds for coronavirus patients and help people [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content