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UK Government Confirms Small Expansion Of Visa-Free EU Touring
Christian Eede , August 5th, 2021 17:19

Short-term visa-free touring by UK artists is now possible in 19 EU countries, up from 17, but criticisms still remain

The UK government has this week confirmed that visa-free touring options are now available to UK musicians in 19 EU countries, up from the 17 that were available this summer.

Criticisms have been levelled at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), however, with some claiming that statements made this week about the possibility of visa-free touring in some EU nations were falsely presented as progress made by the UK government, when in fact this has been the case in most countries since the UK officially left the EU at the start of the year.

Figures from across the music industry are still seeking a unified agreement on visa-free touring that will allow UK musicians, as well as their crew and equipment, to freely travel around EU countries to tour, and also allow those from EU nations to freely come to the UK for shows. This is not currently in place, with various short-term windows available without a visa across each nation, leaving musicians to work out each one for themselves and negotiate the various levels of bureaucracy that come with that.

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden are the countries that are currently allowing various levels of visa-free touring to UK musicians. The UK government added that formal approaches have been made to Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta, and Cyprus to also waive certain visa requirements.

Key questions still also remain over prohibitive costs relating to the movement of music equipment and vehicle transport across borders, as well as other tax and duty issues, such as with the sale of merchandise — all of which present the main roadblocks to post-Brexit touring, according to UK music industry bodies.

Read tQ's Black Sky Thinking piece on why artist visas are more than a Brexit issue, originally published at the start of this year, here.