Jump to main content

EU musicians living in the UK: Settled status

Correct as of May 2022

Coming to the UK from 1 January 2021

For paid work in the UK, there are several different routes available depending on the duration of the work and whether or not you are from non-visa national countries. A brief summary and links for further information are provided below.

Short-term work

Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE): Allows for up to 1 month in total and you cannot extend your stay in the UK. You can be invited and paid by a UK organisation or client as a musician or academic. You will need to check that you meet the eligibility criteria and ensure you have the relevant documents outlined on the gov.uk site. Depending on your nationality, you will either have to apply for a PPE visa before you travel to the UK or be able to visit the UK for up to 1 month.

Temporary Work – Creative Worker Concession: Allows for up to 3 months of work with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). You do not need to apply for a visa in advance if you do not normally need a visa to come to the UK as a visitor and meet the criteria above. You will, however, need to meet the eligibility criteria for the Temporary Work - Creative Worker visa. If you are travelling from Ireland you must apply for remote clearance at last 72 hours before you arrive in the UK.

For PPE and the Creative Worker Concession options, you should not go through the ePassport gates - you must speak to a border official and present your letter of invitation or Certificate of Sponsorship.

Permit Free Festival (PFF): Allows festivals, which form an important part of the UK’s cultural life, to continue to showcase international artists, entertainers and musicians. Exceptionally, under these rules, visiting performers (who can come to the UK for up to six months) may be paid for their participation in festivals on the PFF list. An applicant can arrive as a Standard Visitor to work at a Permit Free Festival and receive payment for their work. You can stay for up to 6 months under this scheme and use the ePassport gates on arrival.

Long-term work

Temporary Work - Creative Worker: This has replaced the T5 Creative and Sporting Worker visa. Allows up to 12 months of worth with a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed sponsor. Applications must be made in advance but not more than three months before the intended entry date.

The Frontier Worker Permit: Allows EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who are employed or self-employed in the UK but are resident elsewhere to continue entering the UK for work. To be eligible, you must have started working in the UK while living elsewhere on or before 31/12/20, and must come to the UK to work at least once every 12 months.

Skilled Worker Visa: Up to 5 years before it can be extended. You must work for an approved UK employer, have a Certificate of Sponsorship, be paid a minimum salary and do a job on the list of eligible occupations. You must have a confirmed job offer before applying for the visa and will usually have to prove your knowledge of English when you apply. You must apply online up to 3 months before you are due to start work in the UK.

Global Talent: Up to five years (can be renewed), no language or salary requirements. The most flexible visa for musicians, it allows for self-employment and/or a main job that can change without having to notify the Home Office. To apply either as a leader in your field (exceptional talent) or a potential leader (exceptional promise), musicians require endorsement from Arts Council England. You need to have worked regularly in the field for the last 5 years and be producing work that is published or performed internationally which the Arts Council judge to be ‘outstanding’. There are further documents which you must provide – these are outlined on the gov.uk Global Talent page.

Graduate Visa: Up to 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK and 3 for PhD or other doctoral qualifications. You can apply for this visa if you are in the UK and currently hold a student visa or Tier 4 student visa and you must apply before your student visa expires. You must have studied for a UK undergraduate or postgraduate degree or other eligible course and the university or college must have told the Home Office that you have successfully completed the course. You are unable to extend a Graduate visa.

Related content

Brexit package for ISM members

We've highlighted a range of ISM services so you can get organised and save money when you're working in Europe and beyond.