Shiri Maimon: U.S. concert tour canceled due to gov't shutdown

Tour organizer says singer and band unable to acquire work visas in time

Shiri Maimon (photo credit: DUDI HASSON)
Shiri Maimon
(photo credit: DUDI HASSON)
Israeli singer Shiri Maimon has canceled an upcoming tour in the United States, blaming the US government shutdown for problems attaining a visa.
Maimon was scheduled to begin a concert tour this Saturday, with shows in New York, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and Palo Alto. Instead, ticket-holders were informed on Monday that the shows had been postponed.
“Due to the ongoing government shutdown, we were unable to secure work visas to Shiri Maimon and her band,” wrote the Los-Angeles based Teev production company on its website. “Therefore, unfortunately, we are forced to announce the postponement of the tour. We will update you as soon as we have the new dates.”
Maimon just returned several months ago from New York, where she spent two weeks portraying Roxie in the Broadway musical Chicago.
According to the website of the US Embassy in Israel, “scheduled passport and visas services, and emergency services for US citizens, will continue at US Embassy Jerusalem and at the Branch Office in Tel Aviv during the US government shutdown.”
Nevertheless, Teev told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that it was still unable to move forward with the shows because of the now three-week-long government shutdown.
“The process for a work visa is very different from a regular visa to the US,” a Teev spokesman told the Post via email. “Before you can schedule any interview and receive a work visa at the consulate or Embassy in Tel Aviv, the work visa application has to be approved by the Department of Homeland Security here in the USA. We have filed everything in time and were supposed to get the approval by the end of December. Since the shutdown started on December 21, we didn’t get the approval and [were] told that they are experiencing delays.”
The Teev spokesman said that “unfortunately, the Embassy in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem cannot help us in this situation because they cannot issue a work visa without the approval of DHS.” He added that they “waited and were hopeful as much as possible, but since the situation is not yet resolved, we have decided to postpone the tour.”
This is far from the first time that an Israeli performer has encountered US visa issues. In March, Omer Adam was forced to cancel his American concert tour after his crew didn’t receive the necessary visas in time. And a year ago, singer Amir Benayoun faced visa troubles over a trip to the UN, that were ultimately resolved just in time for him to travel.