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Right now, the idea of gigging overseas feels like a distant memory but once we get Covid 19 under control (and we will), we will begin to see opportunities for playing abroad re-emerge and for the most part that means performing in one of the 27 remaining EU territories. Brexit means that preparing to perform overseas will be more complex than before. The Musicians Union have created a simple to follow flowchart to help you get your house in order before you leave.
The flowchart can be downloaded at the MU website www.musiciansunion.co.uk
The MU advises that you plan your trip well in advance. Check the requirements of each and every country you plan to visit. Their requirements may vary.
Obviously, you will need a valid passport. You will also need a range of insurances to cover you, your gear, your travel arrangements and public liability (again check the law thoroughly in each territory).
For some territories you will need a Visa and Work Permit.
You will most likely need a Carnet. This is like a passport for your equipment so you can move it from country to county without paying duty.
Does your instrument need a CITES certificate (it will if; it contains Ivory, Brazilian Rosewood, Abalone or other rare or controlled materials)? Check well in advance. It might take a while to come through but without it, your beloved and rare instrument could be refused entry, or worse, seized.
Contact HMRC and inform them that you’ll be working in the EU. Check with them if you will have to pay any contributions in the country you are working. This is likely for long stays.
If you are using a tour manager it’s most likely they will handle much of this for you but, I’ll stress again, check and double check. If you’re at the border without the right documentation you may be heading back home because securing the right paperwork from outside the UK can be extremely difficult.
The Gov.uk website has some useful information called “Business Travel: Extra Requirements” at www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021.
In general. it pays to plan. Checking thoroughly before you go could save you a lot of inconvenience and frustration in the long run. Happy travels!
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