The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


UK Government Responds To Petition On EU Visa-Free Touring
Christian Eede , January 19th, 2021 18:13

"The UK Government will make the case for arrangements that make touring easier in the EU," a statement says

The UK Government has appeared to leave the door open to future negotiations with the EU regarding the issue of post-Brexit visa-free touring of the EU for musicians and their crew.

The UK left the EU on January 1, following a last-minute deal on trade and movement being agreed on December 24. The agreement, however, failed to ensure special visa allowances for bands, DJs, performers and crew working in both the EU and UK, despite assurances that the issue would be addressed in the negotiations.

Artists from the UK and EU states now have to negotiate different rules, paperwork and costs in order to tour between different countries. As of January 1, both EU and non-EU artists must apply for visas if they wish to visit the UK for more than 30 days. They must also provide proof of savings and a sponsorship note from the promoter. Rules for UK artists visiting EU states are now based on a nation-by-nation basis.

An EU source had blamed the lack of an agreement on the subject on the UK, which the UK government subsequently denied. A petition was launched in Britain demanding that the UK attempt to negotiate a deal on the matter. It quickly gathered 100,000 signatures meaning it has now been considered for parliamentary debate.

An official response from the UK Government has now been issued, saying the "UK Government will make the case for arrangements that make touring easier." The statement also repeats the UK Government's claims that the EU had rejected its proposals to "allow creative professionals to travel and perform in both the UK and EU, without needing work permits."

It continues: "The UK Government will make the case for arrangements that make touring easier in the EU and also seek to signpost to guidance which will help UK business travellers navigate individual Member States' immigration systems."

The matter was also raised in last week's Prime Minister's Questions session, with Boris Johnson being asked by Kevin Brennan MP if he was willing to meet with "a small group of MPs, including the Conservative Chair of the Culture Select Committee," to solve a problem that's "clearly fixable."

Johnson replied: "I will of course ensure that there is a proper meeting with the honourable gentleman and his colleagues on this subject, which is extremely important. I know that our friends in the EU will be wanting to go further to improve things, not just for musicians, but for business travellers of all kinds, because there is a mutual benefit."

You can read the government's full response here.