Working, performing and touring in Europe – guidance for musical artists and accompanying staff

Table of Contents 1. Important checks2. Visa/work permits3. Transporting musical instruments or equipment4. Transporting commercial

This checklist is designed for musical artists (such as soloists, groups and orchestras) and any accompanying staff (for example sound engineers) looking to work, perform or tour in an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein..

1. Important checks

If you are travelling to an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you should:

  • Ensure your passport complies with the passport rules

  • Ensure you have appropriate healthcare and travel insurance cover

  • Carry your UK driving licence with you (if you are intending to drive)

If you are a musical artist or accompanying staff travelling to work, perform or tour in an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you need to consider the extra requirements for travelling on business.

Find out more:

Visiting the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

Business travel: extra requirements

2. Visa/work permits

As a musical artist (which might include teaching and education roles) or as accompanying staff, you must check domestic immigration rules for each European country you are intending to work, perform or tour in. Although some countries allow for touring activities without a visa or work permit, others will require one or both, or other documentation. This may vary depending on the length of your stay and the type of activity.

Some EU Member States use the terms ‘visa’ and ‘work permit’ interchangeably, sometimes with different meanings. It is important that you check the individual rules for the Member State(s) you are travelling to.

Find out more:

Providing services and travelling for business to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein: country guides

Travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for work

3. Transporting musical instruments or equipment

Temporarily taking musical instruments or equipment to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

If you are taking your musical instrument or equipment temporarily out of the UK to work, perform or tour in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you will need to consider the customs requirements for each country you are visiting.

If your musical instruments or equipment are in your baggage or a vehicle (‘accompanied’ – carried or taken by an individual in their personal baggage, or a vehicle, which have been transported by the individual throughout the journey), one option is to use temporary admission to pay no duty on them by going through the green or ‘nothing to declare’ channel. You can do this if your musical instrument or equipment is for personal or business use.

If your musical instruments or equipment aren’t accompanied (‘unaccompanied’ – moved as freight by a haulier and/or transport operator where the individual is not present), you can use an ATA Carnet as a temporary admissions procedure (there is a cost for this).

If you don’t use a temporary admission procedure, such as an ATA Carnet, you may have to declare your musical instruments or equipment and pay duties on them every time you take them through customs.

Find out more:

Taking goods out of the UK temporarily

List of goods applicable to oral and by conduct declarations

How to use your ATA carnet

Returning to the UK

When you return to the UK, if you have used a temporary admission procedure to take your musical instrument or equipment to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you may be eligible for relief from import VAT and any customs duty.

Find out more:

Pay less import duty and VAT when re-importing goods to the UK

4. Transporting commercial goods including merchandise

5. Haulage

If you are using a UK-based haulier (as a promoter or tour manager, for example) to transport your instruments, equipment or other goods to the EU, you will need to consider the movement restrictions on UK-based hauliers. Once in the EU, UK hauliers will be able to undertake up to two additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) within the EU, with a maximum of 1 cabotage movement within a 7-day period. Cabotage must be within the same EU country where you first unloaded your goods brought into the EU.

Find out more

Haulage in the EU

Transporting goods between Great Britain and the EU: guidance for hauliers and commercial drivers

6. Social Security and income tax

If you are only working or performing temporarily in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you may be able to get a certificate or document from HMRC to continue paying National Insurance contributions in the UK. This means you’ll not have to pay social security contributions abroad.

You may need to pay UK Income tax on any foreign income you earn from working or performing in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Find out more:

National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland

Tax on foreign income

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-performing-and-touring-in-europe-guidance-for-musicians-and-accompanying-staff