BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

  • *

    Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

Brexit guidance - Answers to questions on music tourism and attendance and equipment at business events

Q.1.  In line with the issues already raised by UK Music and Creative Industries regarding the ability of artistes and musicians to undertake EU tours in several European countries and vice versa EU artistes visiting the UK, can you kindly confirm the procedures which will prevail regarding their ability to do so in terms of entry and exit permits and the situation regarding the temporary importation and export of their equipment and staging

As I'm sure you have seen this is a very topical issue and our SoS met with Elton John yesterday to discuss.  The current position is:

  • This Government recognises the importance of the UK’s thriving cultural industries, and pushed for ambitious arrangements for performers and artists to be able to work across Europe after the end of freedom of movement. 
  • Our proposals would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. They were developed in consultation with the UK’s creative industries. And in practice, they would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers. These proposals were rejected by the EU. 
  • During the negotiation, the EU tabled text regarding the paid activities that can be conducted without a visa. These proposals would not have addressed our sector's concerns. The proposals were non-binding, did not include touring or technical staff, and did not address work permits.
  • The EU’s proposals were also part of a package on visa-free travel that was not consistent with the UK’s manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders. 
  • Nevertheless the UK and EU have unilaterally decided not to impose visas on short-stay visitors. Some Member States however do not allow touring artists to use this route to enter the EU. As a result, visas will be required to tour in these countries, in the same way that they are required for American artists. 
  • We are delivering an extensive programme of engagement with the sector to help them understand any new requirements. This includes working with Arts Council England and sector bodies to help distil and simplify the new rules. 
  •  Where visas apply, our agreement with the EU contains measures that will help ensure processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.
  • We will also look at whether we can work with our partners in EU Member States to find ways to make life easier for those working in the creative industries in our respective countries.

ATA Carnets

  • From 1 January, when travelling temporarily from GB to EU Member States and back, individuals will be able to take professional equipment with them (including, for musicians, instruments and other performance equipment) without needing to complete all the usual customs procedures or pay tariffs, if they obtain a valid ATA carnet.
  • This is in line with current practice for movements from the UK to non-EU countries which recognise ATA carnets. It reflects the standard international approach in line with conventions covering temporary goods movements (the ATA and Istanbul Conventions).

The use of a carnet is optional and is a commercial decision depending on an individual/ business’s specific circumstances. For example another option for moving goods between the UK and EU is the Temporary Admission customs procedure, which is also subject to relevant conditions being met.

  • The management of EU import and export procedures is the responsibility of the customs authorities of EU Member States. It is important that businesses and individuals confirm the processes in advance of their journey or at their port of arrival, so that they are aware of the conditions or procedures that may apply, such as how to declare goods and the time limit that goods may remain in the EU without the payment of duty. More information can be found online at
  • In the UK ATA Carnets are administered by the London Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Full details of the rules on ATA Carnets and the application process can be found on Further information is also available through HMRC and EU guidance.


Q.2.  Clarify the situation regarding the haulage of music and presentation equipment both out of the UK into the EU and from the EU to the UK on a temporary basis. I understand there may also be a limitation to the number of countries to which UK hauliers will be able to visit in a single journey. Can you confirm if this is so and to how many countries will the limit apply

The following guidance for haulage companies and commercial drivers moving goods between Great Britain and the European Union can be found on

  • UK operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU. Up to 2 additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) may be undertaken within the EU following a laden journey from the UK, with a maximum of 1 cabotage movement within a 7-day period.
  • Both additional movements may be cabotage movements in Ireland for Northern Ireland operators provided they follow a journey from Northern Ireland, and are performed within a 7-day period.
  • UK hauliers who wish to undertake up to 3 cross-trade movements (moving goods between 2 countries outside the UK) may do so using a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit.
  • EU operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the UK, with up to 2 cabotage movements in the UK, provided they are performed following a journey from the EU, and within 7 days of unloading in the UK.

An overview of which documents, licenses and permits hauliers and commercial drivers need to apply for is available on the guidance page.


Q.3.  Clarification of the situation with regards to short stay business visitors and staff attending exhibitions and/or attending conferences coming from the EU to the UK and going from the UK to  the EU.

The following guidance for EU nationals visiting the UK is available on

  • Under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, you can continue to visit the UK without applying for a visa. In most cases you can stay for up to 6 months. You may participate in a wide range of activities including business-related activities such as meetings, events and conferences. You may enter the UK multiple times during that period but you may not live in the UK by means of frequent or successive visits.
  • As a business visitor, you cannot:
    • do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person
    • do a work placement or internship
    • sell directly to the public or provide goods and services

The following guidance for UK nationals visiting the EU is available on

  • If you’re travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for less than 90 days in a 180-day period, you may be able to do some things without getting a visa or work permit, for example going to a business meeting.
  • You may need a visa, work permit or other documentation if you’re planning to stay for longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, or if you’ll be doing any of the following:
    • transferring from the UK branch of a company to a branch in a different country (‘intra-corporate transfer’), even for a short period of time
    • carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in another country in which your employer has no presence
    • providing services in another country as a self-employed person
  • Check the entry requirements and rules of the country you’re visitingto find out if you need a visa or work permit.


Q.4. Similarly the temporary transportation of business samples and goods for exhibiting or conferencing and production materials and exhibition structures into the UK from the EU and from the UK to the EU.

When temporarily transporting business samples/goods to the UK, you may be able to get import duty relief on goods using Temporary Admission:

  • Full relief can be given when these goods are:
    • exhibited or used at a public event, not purely organised for commercial sale
    • delivered by the owner for inspection to a person in the UK, who has the right to purchase them after inspection
    • works of art, collectors’ items or antiques imported for an exhibition, with a view to possible sale, check the examples of acceptable goods below
  • Sample goods must be solely used for being shown or demonstrated in the UK. The imported sample quantities must be of a reasonable amount and in line with their use. You can be established in the UK to declare goods to this relief. Prior authorisation is needed.

When temporarily transporting business samples/goods to the EU, you can apply for an ATA Carnet. ATA Carnets let you temporarily export commercial samples, trade fair or exhibition goods and professional equipment to countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system.

  • You can buy an Admission Temporaire or Temporary Admission (ATA) Carnet and use it to:
    • temporarily export goods for use outside the UK
    • claim relief under temporary admission on goods that you import for temporary use into the UK
    • cover transit of goods through certain countries on route to countries where you’ll use them temporarily


Q.5.  What is the situation regarding a paid speaker from overseas presenting at a UK conference. Will they be regarded as working and require a work permit or can they come as a business visitor. Is there any difference in treatment if they are not being paid to present?

We are chasing a clear answer from the Home Office on this issue - we think that for most business conferences, if a speaker is being paid they will need a work permit. There are a couple of pieces of relevant guidance:

PA 4 of the Immigration Rules Appendix Visitor: Permitted Activities notes that a visitor to the UK may:

(a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews; and
(b) give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser; 

There do seem to be exemptions for professionals in academia & other professions - see Immigration Rules Appendix V: Visitor which states that the following are following are permitted paid engagements:

(a) an academic who is highly qualified within their field of expertise, coming to examine students and/or participate in or chair selection panels, and have been invited by a UK higher education institution, or a UK-based research or arts organisation as part of that institution or organisation’s quality assurance processes; and

(b) an expert coming to give lectures in their subject area, where they have been invited by a higher education institution; or a UK-based research or arts organisation, and this does not amount to filling a teaching position for the host organisation; and
(c) an overseas designated pilot examiner coming to assess UK-based pilots to ensure they meet the national aviation regulatory requirements of other countries, where they have been invited by an approved training organisation based in the UK that is regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority for that purpose; and
(d) a qualified lawyer coming to provide advocacy for a court or tribunal hearing, arbitration or other form of dispute resolution for legal proceedings within the UK, where they have been invited by a client; and
(e) a professional artist, entertainer, or musician coming to carry out an activity directly relating to their profession, where they have been invited by a creative (arts or entertainment) organisation, agent or broadcaster based in the UK; and
(f) a professional sports person coming to carry out an activity directly relating to their profession, where they have been invited by a sports organisation, agent, or broadcaster based in the UK.