Swedish black metallers MARDUK have once again cancelled plans to tour the US as a result of their inability to secure the proper paperwork from the American Embassy to enable them to enter the country legally. Here is the band's official statement on the matter:
"MARDUK still has not been granted their clearance from the INS [Immigration Naturalization Service], and will therefore not be able to participate on the upcoming DANZIG US tour. As we have told you before, MARDUK has had a lot of problems with the American embassy and has not been able to get any information about how the visa matter is being proceeded and since time is running out MARDUK see no other choice than to not do the tour. According to the band all they have been informed about is that their case is under investigation and that they will be informed when a decision has been made by the INS whether MARDUK will get their visa clearance or not."
Meanwhile, Century Media Records have issued a statement of their own in an attempt to further clarify the situation. It reads as follows:
There have been rumors and much speculation regarding whether MARDUK would be able to enter North America for their scheduled tour with DANZIG. To understand the situation, it is best that we start from the beginning...
In the summer of 2001, MARDUK started preparing for a US tour in the Fall. The band submitted all the required documents and paid the proper fees to obtain the non-immigrant work visas that would allow them to enter the country and to perform. The form is called a Class: P1 The application was completed properly and submitted to the proper US government agencies. As the band awaited the approval, the United States suffered the September 11 attacks. The following day, the US Government instituted major changes to its policies and handling of P1 requests. In addition, they closed many of the consulates around the world.
Due to these changes and the complications/delays that resulted, the tour was cancelled and rescheduled for early 2002 to allow the consulate and the US Government agencies to review the band's request for the P1. On December 19, 2001, the "Approval Notice" was remitted and on December 21, 2001, the Notice of Approval was granted for MARDUK's P1 and their entry to America to perform.
MARDUK presented their passports and all the required documents to get their 'stamp' so they could legally enter America to perform. Weeks passed during which the band received no word from the consulate. After many appointments and phone calls with the consulate, MARDUK was informed that they needed further documents to continue the process for the P1.
This is where the confusion escalates. Technically, the P1 was approved on 12/21/01 and MARDUK should have been able to simply get their passport stamped, jump on their flights and tour the USA. It is our understanding that the individual consulate has much influence on how, when and in what fashion the visa process is completed. During the course of obtaining further documents and waiting on return calls from the consulate, the start date for the rescheduled tour came and went. Many MARDUK fans and supporters were very disheartened and felt cheated. Ultimately, no one was more let down then the band as they felt they had done everything required - and then some - to ensure they could gain entrance to America and tour.
After this second cancellation, MARDUK decided they were just going to wait and hope to tour America at a much later date. During this period, the band continued to stay in touch with the consulate in an effort to resolve the matter and get their Visa Stamps to prevent any further problems.
Later, MARDUK and the agency for MARDUK were contacted by representatives of DANZIG to see if the band would be interested in supporting DANZIG on his North American tour beginning in June 2002. With the prospect of touring with DANZIG, MARDUK doubled their efforts to complete the process via the consulate beginning in early April. Since then, the band has jumped through a bundle of red tape and paperwork, consistently meeting all the requests of the consulate. As time passed, the band ceased receiving return phone calls from the consulate.
At this point, the band's label, agency and immigration consultant drafted emergency letters to the consulate to request prompt attention to the band's situation and request specific information as to why the band had not yet received their processing. The letters were sent via fax directly to the consulate and were followed up with phone calls on numerous occasions. To date, not a single one of the calls or fax inquiries has been returned to any of the parties.
As of 5/30/02, neither MARDUK or any of their representatives at their label, agency, or immigration consultation, has been provided any new information on why the band has not been provided the stamps to enter the country. Literally, no one has contacted us explaining that there is, or is not, a problem with the band entering the US to tour. Please understand this statement. Nobody has contacted any of us in recent weeks to declare there is a problem or cause for delay. Without this information, there is nothing that any of the involved parties can do to help expedite or declare the process a dead case file. With no information at our disposal, we are left with nothing upon which to act.
Obtaining P1 Visa's are never the same each time. There are many details the Government agencies consider that we nor anyone else is made privy too. So despite the fact that the P1 petition has been approved, the consulate has not completed the final step of issuing entry stamps for MARDUK. Thus, the band cannot legally enter the country.
MARDUK wishes to express their bewilderment with respect to this matter, and sincerely apologizes to all their fans, supporters, friends and business partners. Whatever gossip that surrounds the band regarding previous criminal records (misdemeanor) has been dealt with already and resolved.
If, at some time, the consulate contacts MARDUK to issue stamps, the band would love nothing more than to tour America again. Until that time, the band will remain busy in Europe until the government provides new information on their pending request for entry stamps.