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Brexit questions answered: January 2021

Brexit has created enormous complexities for artists travelling to and from the UK. There are new rules to follow and processes to complete that our members need to understand. To help, we have compiled a list of common questions about the new arrangements that we received following our recent webinar.

If you have consulted our Brexit advice and still have questions, then please contact [email protected] or call 020 7221 3499.

UK-based artists visiting the EU

Do I need a visa or work permit when travelling to the EU for short term paid work?

All UK nationals holding a valid passport (with at least six months' validity) can travel for up to 90 days in a 180-day period in the Schengen area under the existing visa-waiver regime. However, as of 01 January 2021, each Member State can now choose to treat UK citizens as ‘visa nationals’ when entering that country for paid work and may require both a visa and a work permit.

Whilst some EU countries offer exemptions for cultural activity, many Member States require visas and/or short-term work permits (see ISM overview). We strongly encourage organisations and individuals to check with the consular authorities for the countries they will be working in before travelling. This is a very complex picture and we continue to lobby government for clear guidance to help navigate the different entry requirements in each EU Member State.

Do I need a Carnet when travelling between the UK and the EU with a musical instrument?

An ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet is likely to be useful when taking your musical instrument from and back into the UK.

The ATA Carnet is an international customs document which will:

1. allow you to import, on a temporary basis, equipment or goods for events (including live performances) into countries which are part of the ATA Carnet system on the understanding that you will take all such goods or equipment back with you when you return home.

2. simplify customs formalities by allowing a single document to be used for clearing goods through customs in the countries within ATA Carnet system. The European Union is considered a single customs territory for the purposes of this system. Without an ATA Carnet you will need to go through each country's customs procedures for the temporary admission of goods e.g. by lodging a temporary import bond.

Musical instruments and other related professional equipment transported from the UK fall under this category. An ATA carnet is valid for one year and can be used on multiple journeys within that period. It must be stamped by the appropriate customs officials upon entry and exit of each country for which the carnet has been issued. Failure to do this may mean you have to pay customs duties or taxes, and even have your equipment seized.

You must also make sure that if your instrument or equipment is damaged while abroad you still bring it back to the UK: the key principle of a carnet is that you must bring back what you take out.

Carnets are issued by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (and other local chambers of commerce in the UK). The cost of a carnet comprises two elements: an issuing fee (currently £360), and a security deposit, determined by the value of the goods/equipment listed in the carnet. Musical instruments and equipment security deposits are calculated between 30-40% of the value.

Has there been any information released about whether individual countries will change how much tax they withhold since Brexit?

​EU member states will decide whether to opt-in to ​arrangements for cross border workers that ensure employers are only liable to pay social security contributions in one state at a time. This will avoid some of the duplication of social security rules and additional costs. ​HMRC have stated that the full list of countries' positions on this will be available at the end of January. We have heard reports that every member state in the EU has opted in to the scheme, and will inform our members when we have received confirmation.

EU-based artists visiting the UK

How much would an EU-based artist have to have worked in the UK before 1 January 21 to qualify for the new frontier worker scheme?

The Frontier Worker Permit allows EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who are employed or self-employed in the UK but are resident elsewhere to continue entering the UK for work. To be eligible, you must have started working in the UK while living elsewhere on or before 31 December 2020 and must come to the UK to work at least once every 12 months. Permits are free and will be issued for either 2 or 5 years. The deadline to apply is 1 July 2021

What if the stay in UK is longer than 3 months, with more than one UK employer - including one that is a permit-free festival? Would the artist need a working visa for the whole period, including the festival?

You would not be able to stay for over 3 months without leaving the UK in between unless you had a full Tier 5 Creative & Sporting visa (this allows up a stay for to 12 months, must be applied for in advance, and carries a fee). Another option to explore would be the Tier 5 Concession (allows up to 3 months, applied for upon arrival, no fee, needs a Certificate of Sponsorship from employer/contractor).

However, you would need to leave the country (even for a short amount of time) in order to enter for the next phase of work. This could be on the basis of a second Tier 5 Concession or Permit-Free Festival (where standard visitor rules apply).