Cultural Performers


Cultural Performers will be selected from across the United States and its territories to represent their region as ambassadors of U.S. culture. Through their service, these performers will provide a program at the USA Pavilion that embodies the geographic and cultural richness of the United States and its territories, tell the story of the United States, and engage Expo visitors through scheduled and informal engagements. Performances will vary in size from speakers and solo artists to larger groups of up to 30 performers.

Global Ties U.S. will select approximately 390 Cultural Performers and 84 total acts to perform at Expo 2020. Each act is expected to participate in a minimum of four performance engagements and will be in Dubai for five to seven days.

Cultural Performers FAQ

Q: What is a World Expo?

A: For more than 160 years, World Expos, also known as World’s Fairs, have helped humanity make sense of change and navigate through difficult times by promoting Education, Innovation, and Cooperation. World Expos welcome tens of millions of visitors, allow countries to build extraordinary pavilions and provide a platform for nations to find solutions to pressing challenges of our times. The United States has a long history with World Fairs, having hosted these exhibitions in Philadelphia (1876), Chicago (1893 and 1933/34), St Louis (1904), San Francisco (1915), New York (1939), Seattle (1962), San Antonio (1968), Spokane (1974), Knoxville (1982), and New Orleans (1984).

 Q: Will Expo 2020 Dubai take place in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: Yes. Expo 2020 Dubai will now run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

Q: Who is a Cultural Performer? 

A: Cultural Performers – including representatives from dance, music, theater, literature, art, food, sports, spoken word, and more – will be selected from across the United States and its territories to represent their region as ambassadors of U.S. culture. These performers will provide educational/entertaining programming at the World Expo and the USA Pavilion that embodies the geographic and cultural richness of the United States and its territories, tell the story of the United States, and engage Expo visitors through curated and improvised engagements. All performances must demonstrate a clear connection to U.S. culture. Performance acts will vary in size from speakers and solo artists to medium and large-sized groups. Performers may be well established or a new group looking to make its first splash on the world stage.


Q: What type of performers are you looking for? 

A: Global Ties U.S. is recruiting performers across the following disciplines:

  • Cinema/film
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dance (Tap, modern, classical, breakdance, etc.)
  • E-sports/gaming
  • Music
  • Performance art/theatre
  • Sports, health, and fitness
  • Subject-matter experts/speaking engagements especially on innovation
  • Technology/Space
  • Other creative/innovative platforms of expression or entertainment
Q: I am a U.S. citizen living abroad. Can I still be considered even though I have permanent residency out of the U.S.?

A: Yes. The opportunity is open to all citizens.

Q: I am a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)– can I apply?

A: Yes, LPRs are eligible for this opportunity.

Q: Is there an age requirement for Cultural Performers?

A: No, there is no age requirement for cultural performers at the USA Pavilion. However, groups with performers under the age of 18 will be asked additional questions in the screening process to ensure the safety, supervision, and well-being of performers. Global Ties U.S. requires that all minors be accompanied by a chaperone. Chaperones whom are not part of the group will have to cover their own travel and accommodations. Additionally, a parent or guardian will be required to fill out relevant documentation approving of any minor’s travel to and from Dubai.

Q: What dates must Cultural Performers be available?

A: Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022; however, Cultural Performers will only be required to be in Dubai during their performance engagement dates. Cultural Performers will be required to participate in a minimum of four performance engagements at Expo 2020 and should expect to be in country for five to seven days.

Q: What are the performance expectations?

A: All performers are required to participate in a minimum of four engagements during their time in Dubai. Engagements will vary in form and style based on venue location, size, equipment, and A/V capabilities. Performance locations will take place at 16 different venues of various sizes across the Expo grounds. All venues will not be utilized and performance space will be dependent on size, location, and availability. Additional performance space will be available in and around the USA Pavilion.

Q: How can Cultural Performers get involved?

A: Prospective cultural performers can apply directly or be nominated here:  Nominated performers will be informed of their nomination and receive instructions on how to apply if interested.

The form for both nominations and direct applicants will be open from September 15, 2020 to March 15, 2021*.

*Global Ties U.S. reserves the right to close the application prior to the deadline. Early submissions are encouraged.

Q: How many Cultural Performers will be selected?

A: Approximately 84 acts of varying sizes will be selected. This number may increase or decrease subject to availability of funds and group size.

Q. Will selected Cultural Performers be required to provide their own equipment?

A: All applicants must submit a comprehensive list of equipment and technical requirements with their application. Global Ties U.S. will cover fees for oversized and additional baggage relating to performance equipment and/or costumes within reason. All baggage must comply with UAE Customs Regulations and Laws. Some equipment (especially amplification equipment and pianos) will be available for use at Expo 2020.

Q: Will selected Cultural Performers be required to undergo a background check?

A: Yes, applicants will be subject to a criminal background check as a condition of the selection process. All cultural performers must comply with visa and Expo accreditation requirements which may include additional background checks and requests for personal information.


Q: Will Cultural Performers be responsible for their own travel arrangements to the Expo?

A: Global Ties U.S. will arrange and cover costs for travel to Dubai and back to cities of origin for all cultural performers. Global Ties U.S. will not cover travel for any family, friends or guests of the cultural performers. Any travel arrangements made outside of the performance engagement period must be covered at the cultural performer’s own expense.

Q: Will I need to get a visa for the UAE?

A: Yes. All cultural performers must obtain a valid 30-day visa from the UAE. U.S. citizens will be able to obtain their visa upon arrival in the country. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) will not be able to obtain a visa upon arrival and must obtain their visa prior to their scheduled departure date.

All cultural performers will be provided with supporting documentation from the USA Pavilion management certifying the validity of their engagements at Expo. Individuals will be required to respect all conditions of issue. We will not assist in processing visa applications for family, friends, or associates of performers who choose to accompany the performer at their own expense. It is important to note, U.S. citizens already in the UAE with a valid work visa will not be required to obtain an Expo 2020 visa.

Q: Where will Cultural Performers stay? Will they share accommodations?

A: Cultural performers will stay in a hotel near the Expo site selected and paid for by Global Ties U.S. Members of performance groups may be asked to share rooms with another group member of the same gender. Please note that all performers must follow UAE regulations, which prohibits people of opposite genders, who are not married or blood-related from co-habitation. Global Ties U.S. will not provide accommodations for family, friends or guests of performers.

Q: Will you provide health insurance for selected Cultural Performers?

A: Yes. Cultural performers will be provided with comprehensive travel and medical insurance for the full duration of their program at the USA Pavilion.

Q: Will Cultural Performers be employed by Global Ties U.S.?

A: Performing at Expo 2020 does not constitute formal employment with Global Ties U.S. or the USA Pavilion.

Q. Will Cultural Performers be compensated for their work?

A: All cultural performers will receive daily per diem funds to cover meals and incidental expenses. Honorarium will be determined at the time of selection and may not be applicable to all performers. Honorarium will not exceed $300 per day.

Q: Do Cultural Performers have to adhere to a Code of Conduct?

A: Yes. All cultural performers at the USA Pavilion will be required to adhere to the Pavilion’s Code of Conduct and conditions regarding service at the USA Pavilion. All of the conditions outlined in the Code of Conduct must be acknowledged by the cultural performer prior to beginning their engagements. All performers must also adhere to the laws and customs of the UAE. Please note that the USA Pavilion will not provide legal services.

Q: Will there be an orientation before the event?

A: Global Ties U.S. staff will conduct a virtual pre-departure orientation with performers approximately two weeks prior to their scheduled departure. Pre-departure information will include a detailed performance schedule, cultural briefing, and travel arrangements.

Q: Where can I learn more about the United Arab Emirates?

A: If you are considering applying to the Youth Ambassador / Cultural Performer program, please familiarize yourself with the country information page for the UAE published by the U.S. Department of State.

Please pay close attention to sections on“Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements”and“Local Laws & Special Circumstances.”