Brexit trade agreement: Impact on musicians

Updated 07 January 2021

On 24 December 2020, the UK and EU agreed a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement to govern the future trading and security relationship now that the UK has left the EU. On 30 December, a bill bringing the trade deal into UK law was backed by the Commons by 521 to 73 votes after Parliament was recalled.

Main points in the Agreement for the music sector include

  • Short-term work: There are no provisions in the Agreement accounting for the nature of UK musicians' short-term work. This means that UK musicians seeking to work in the EU will be considered third-country nationals and will therefore need to meet the various requirements of each member state. ​We have created a resource with an overview of each country's requirements.
  • Healthcare: An alternative document to the EHIC will be decided upon 'in due course', making healthcare for short-term stays in the EU free in most cases. In the meantime, existing EHICs are valid until the expiry date.
  • Social security: ​EU member states will decide whether to opt-in to ​cross border workers and employers only being 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.
  • Customs: declarations become necessary straight away. For musicians travelling with instruments and/or equipment, this means obtaining ATA Carnets (the cost starts at approximately £400 plus a security deposit) or a Duplicate List (free but administratively difficult), applying for a Music Instrument Certificate if the instrument requires one (and if so, travelling through certain ports).
  • Logistics: Under the new FTA rules, reduced cabotage’s for hauliers over 3.5 tonnes operating in the EU from the UK will now be permitted a maximum of 3 internal movements. This will prove extremely difficult for tour operators hoping to facilitate tours organised from the UK in the EU.

The ISM has prepared an overview of the different requirements for short-stay work permits of each country in the EU/EEA area. Where relevant, links are provided to access more information and performer exemptions as well as notification requirements for some states. In addition to the 30 EEA countries (EU27 plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) and Switzerland, we have included details of some non-Schengen area countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania).

This information is for your reference only and does not constitute legal or immigration advice. The ISM recommends that if you have any doubts about your eligibility to enter any country, that you contact a suitability qualified migration expert for each individual country in good time prior to intended arrival.