10 things musicians need to know on 31 January 2020 – Brexit Day copy

1. On 31 January, the UK officially left the EU

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) or ‘Brexit Bill’ has been ratified by the UK and the EU, and the UK has formally left the EU (31 January 2020).

2. We have now entered an 11-month transition period, during which your rights remain the same


Despite the UK leaving the political institutions of the EU on 1 February 2020, rights for UK citizens in the EU will continue until 31 December 2020. The UK effectively remains in the customs union and single market, which means that musicians can continue to travel and work in the EU27 as before, and that mechanisms to support this such as the A1 form and the EHIC will continue. It’s business as usual.

3. As things stand, the transition period is unlikely to be extended


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that he will not extend the transition period and a clause prohibiting an extension has been included in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB). As things stand, this means that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020. However, this could be subject to change as negotiations with the European Union take place.

4. Things will really change after 31 December 2020


Following the end of the transition period, the relationship between the UK and the EU will be very different. The UK will have left the single market and the customs union; free movement and the free movement of goods will have ended. This means that the rules for musicians to travel and work in EU27 countries will likely be very different – almost certainly more difficult. Musicians may need visas to work in EU27 countries and may need customs documents like carnets in order to transport instruments and sound equipment.

However, the detail of what this will look like is unknown. The Government will begin negotiations for a trade agreement with the EU from February until December 2020, and we will update you as and when we know more.

5. Get your Musical Instrument Certificate as soon as possible


If your musical instrument contains materials from endangered species according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which includes ivory, tortoiseshell, and Brazilian rosewood, you are likely to require a Musical Instrument Certificate to travel to the EU with your instrument after 31 December 2020. The ISM is aware that a charge for Musical Instrument Certificate (MIC) is likely to be introduced in early 2020, so encourages you to apply for your MIC as soon as possible, while they are still free of charge. Find out more on the gov.uk website.

6. Be aware of CITES-designated ports when planning travel in 2021


Whilst it is not yet clear what will happen in relation to the UK and CITES after 31 December 2020, it is possible that some ports and airports will not be equipped to manage CITES inspection procedures. For example, under Government preparations for a no-deal Brexit, Eurostar and Immingham port were not CITES-designated, meaning that instruments containing CITES material would not be able to travel using those points of entry. Keep an eye out for planned changes to CITES-designated ports after 31 December 2020.

7. Watch out for extra clauses in your contracts


The ISM is aware of recent cases whereby EU promoters and agents have introduced additional clauses in contracts with musicians to shift responsibilities regarding cost to the musicians themselves in the context of Brexit, e.g. additional costs incurred for paperwork or travel delays. We strongly recommend you get advice on the implications of any additional clauses. ISM members should contact the in-house legal team in the first instance at [email protected].

8. Check your passport has at least six months’ validity


As free movement comes to an end on 31 December 2020, the rules regarding mobility will change. The Government advises having at least six months’ validity on your passport.

9. Settled Status deadlines are creeping closer


The EU Settlement Scheme enables EU (or Swiss) citizens who already reside in the UK to remain in the country indefinitely. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021 and the ISM encourages early application as soon as possible.

There is not currently a reciprocal arrangement for UK citizens living in the EU (even if the UK leaves with a deal) and any arrangements will likely be on a country-by-country basis.

10. Sign up to the ISM’s Save Music campaign to stay informed


The ISM works tirelessly to keep up-to-date with the Government’s Brexit developments and make the case to Government on issues that affect musicians. Sign up to the ISM’s Save Music campaign to find out ways to get involved and have your say: ism.org/savemusic/

- Dr Naomi Bath, ISM Senior Policy and Research Officer.

Advice correct at time of publication, 1 February 2020.

Brexit package for ISM members

From visas to car hire, accommodation to advice, we've highlighted a range of member services to help you get organised and save money when you're working in the UK, Europe and beyond.

Updated August 2019

Filter articles