No-deal Brexit: a musician’s guide to travelling in the EU27

Updated 6 April 2021

Visas and work permits

The end of freedom of movement between the UK and European Union (EU) now impacts the way that musicians from the UK are able to travel to Europe. Visiting EU countries, which can be up to a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period in the Schengen area, requires six months’ validity on your passport, an international driving licence if needed, health insurance (as EHIC access), and at the border being prepared to show a return ticket and evidence of sufficient funds for the length of your stay.

UK nationals will now be treated as third country nationals when they enter the EEA (EU27 plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland for work purposes. Travelling for short-term work in Europe will require checking each country’s regulations on work permits, because each member state is likely to have different conditions for third country nationals. There are already established routes for third country nationals to obtain work permits when necessary.

Daunting as this may seem, the ISM has prepared a comprehensive overview of EU short-term work permit information.

In addition to meeting requirements of each country for work permits, musicians will also need to consider whether they need additional customs documents. Read more about travelling with instruments and equipment here.

Health insurance

From 1 January 2021, the UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid after the card expiry date for most UK citizens (apart from, for example, UK students who started a course in the EU before the end of 2020).

The Government is issuing a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which entitles you to free or discounted medical treatment when you are in an EU country. It is important to note that the GHIC card is not a replacement for travel insurance, and this should be arranged in advance of travel.

To make an application for the GHIC, you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth, and your
National Insurance or NHS number (England and Wales), CHI number (Scotland), or Health and Care number (Northern Ireland).

You can find out more information and how to apply for the GHIC card on GOV.UK.

Social security

If you work in the EU, Norway or Switzerland, you’ll only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time. As of 12 February 2021, all member states in the EU have expressed their wish to opt in to apply the detached worker provision. This allows you to work temporarily in the EU and continue paying social security in the UK only, providing you have the relevant documentation.

You can continue to use the portable document A1 in the EU when working in more than two countries, and this should be taken on tour.

If you need to apply for an A1 certificate, please note that the way the Government refers to A1 certificates has changed. If you’re normally self-employed in the UK and you’re going to temporarily carry out some activities in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you should fill out a Form CA3837. If your employer sends you to work temporarily in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you should fill out a Form CA3822.

For the list of applications and how to apply given your situation, visit GOV.UK.

Additional travel information

Passports must be valid for at least six months and you may require an international driving permit. The Brexit advice pages on our website will be updated as more information becomes available.