US authorities have denied an Icelandic singer entry into their country, RÚV reports. Júlía Hermannsdóttir is the singer of the Reykjavík band Oyama, which was supposed to warm up for the indie-rock band Foxing at concerts in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and Boston in March. Júlía received no explanation why she isn’t allowed to enter the US, while other band members have been given a green light.
She was a student in New York 2005-2011 and has visited the US on a regular basis ever since. Her last visit, using the same passport as now, was less than a year ago. “It’s always gone really well. I’ve never experienced any trouble in the US, have neither broken the law nor been arrested,” she remarked.
She has never traveled to the seven countries whose residents were temporarily barred from entering the US, following President Donald Trump’s executive order. That ban is no longer in effect. The US Embassy in Iceland referred her to an office, which is in charge of granting so-called ESTA authorizations (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
After being put on hold on the phone for three hours, she finally reached a man, she stated, who did not sound friendly. He asked for the number of her passport, looked it up and then told her she was not allowed to enter the US, adding that he did not have permission to tell her the reason why.
This whole affair has surely caused inconvenience, partly because Oyama’s agent had invited record producers to attend the band’s concerts. Band members will hold a crisis meeting today and decide the next steps. Possibly, the rest of them will travel to the US and try to deliver the music without a singer, or attempt to find a substitute.
Following the US tour, Oyama has plans to travel to the UK, where Júlía will no doubt be part of the band.