Non-UK musicians will need visa to perform in the country from 2021

Artists must also prove they have nearly £1000 in savings before applying.

Musicians from outside the UK will need to apply for a visa and pay to perform in the country from 2021, the Home Office has confirmed.

In a post-Brexit shake up of the current rules, EU and non-EU based creatives who wish to travel to the UK must prove they have nearly £1000 in savings in their account some 90 days before applying for the visa. The huge sum is considered to be proof that they can support themselves, unless they are already “fully approved (‘A-rated’)”.

In contrast, current rules allow artists and their crews to travel to the UK without restrictions and without applying for a work permit or visa.


Artists will need a Tier 5 visa to visit the UK for work – encompassing performances, auditions, workshops, festival appearances, talks and events. It is expected to cost £244 and will come into force in January 2021, following the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020.

The details, listed in a policy paper from the Home Office, suggests it is unlikely there will be reciprocal arrangements between the UK and EU for entertainers in any Brexit deal.

Criticising the decision, Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, told The New European: “We are deeply disappointed that free movement for musicians and other artists from the EU has been ruled out and we would ask the UK Government to reconsider our call for a two-year, multi-entry visa.

“As the former minister of state in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nigel Adams MP said last month, ‘Touring is absolutely the lifeblood of the industry’.”

She added: “This latest development will mean that artists visiting the UK from the EU for work will need to apply for visas, including Tier 5, or pursue a route for short-term business visitors such as the discredited Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE).”


A government spokesperson said: “Musicians and performers are a valued and important part of UK culture.
“The UK attracts world class artists, entertainers and musicians and that’s not going to change under the new system.

“The rules already permit performers from around the world to take part in events, concerts and competitions without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa and that will continue to be the case.”

It comes after a petition was set up by The Musicians’ Union which is “calling on Government and Parliament to back a Musicians’ Passport for musicians working in the EU post-Brexit.”

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