musicNEWS: UFO Cancel U.S. Tour Due To Visa Problems
Today, the US Embassy in London refused Phil Mogg, UFO's lead singer, a Work Permit Visa. As you may know, without a Work Permit Visa, no non-American is able to work (i.e. performing a commercial concert) in the United States. This seriously impacts our upcoming US tour (April 22 through May 16, 2004)
The band members all applied for their Work Permits (as usual) several weeks before the US tour was to begin. Their Work Permits were approved and ISSUED on March 9, 2004 by the Bureau Of Citizenship and Immigration Services, located in the United States. Due to the new immigration and Work Permit laws, it is now also necessary for the applicant to attend a personal interview, in his home country, at the US Embassy. During Phil's interview, today, in London, England, his name turned up in the government computer. The comment was that 'at some time in the past' his finger prints were taken while in the USA. When, where and why was not disclosed.
It is true, Phil's finger prints were taken in the USA 24 years ago (!!) in Buffalo, New York. The Immigration Authority did not think, at that time, his Visa was adequate so this fingerprinting occurred. His Visa was then reissued, straight away, and everything was in order. During the intervening 24 years, Phil has returned to the USA 12 times on Work and Visitors Visas. Unfortunately, the only thing that matters now is that finger prints were taken. Under current immigration law, whether impacted by the war or not, a person having been finger printed promptly ceases the Visa clearance process.
Finger prints now have to be retaken from Phil. They are sent to the FBI and, according to the information we have been given, only when the FBI gives their approval, will it be possible for Phil to acquire a Work Permit Visa. This procedure, the Embassy advises, can take from 2 to 12 weeks.
The band is, therefore, forced to postpone its tour until this matter is resolved.
We all respect that the United States must protect itself. We will, of course, cooperate. We are, however, puzzled and very perplexed at this unhappy last minute surprise.
We hope, with all our hearts, that you will understand and join with us in the rescheduling process.
Sincerely, Peter Knorn (UFO management)