As promised I have put the information for the relevant EU countries, plus others, that we have been barred from working in with the same expediency as prior to the Withdrawal Agreement onto one page. It's a long read but the useful links for all countries are here. I have tried only to use official sources and the links will then be updated as time goes on.
As mentioned by me before, this is for temporary workers of the live events and corporate exhibition markets and doesn't cover in detail the Musicicans or Artists aspect which Ian Smith from Ukeartswork covers very well indeed.
Austria has a lot of information for temporary working for third national country workers. It mainly falls to the highly qualified or the jobs that Austria requires outsiders to do. It is a very similar set up to Switzerland. The news is not good for freelancers unless you are invited by an Austrian company. There is a rigid point system for temporary workers and one of the criteria is that the equivalent job is not being advertised in the area of Austria you are working in. The London Embassy website has a great deal of useful detail and they were very helpful. The Artist exemption is pretty clear but it does not mention support teams but worth investigating further. This section for self employment made me laugh, poor singing waiters, I'm hoping this also includes living statues!
"Proof of artistic activity (training certificates, earlier engagements etc.) must be presented when filing an application with the competent Austrian representation. Both performing as well as creative artists can apply for a visa, but artistic activity must be predominant (no “singing” waiters). Proof of adequate means of subsistence must be presented in the form of engagement contracts with theatres, concert halls etc. or e.g. agreements with galleries. Depending on the duration of the intended activity, either a visa C Employment or a visa D Employment should be applied for. "
Once again I'm afraid, there is no provision for temporary work to install stands. There is no specific mention of our industry in any category that I can see on the Belgian immigration portal. There is the mention of Artists and unusally they have different categories rather than just one Artist umbrella, but Exhibitions are not mentioned here either. The Belgian FPS , replied from their Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation department and assured me there is no system in place and a work permit will be required.
When looking please bear in mind that Belgium is considered to be three distinct labour markets,(according to their labour portal) Walloon, Flanders and Brussels and each area has different rules for what is deemed to be required employment by third nation workers, although they follow the national guidelines.
The type C visa would seem to be the way to go if you need to get work done in Belgium and this site is the definitive authority on the Belgian work visa sent to me by the FPS.
I can confirm there is neither a temporary work situation for contractors or artists unless you are invited by the Ministry of Culture and even then a visa is required. The Ministry of employment which I could only find in Bulgarian has a list of requirements, all of which would preclude our ability to turn up and do our job. The job would need to be posted locally and of national importance before a work permit would be issued and then a visa for entry would need to be done. Not condusive to our industry for working, I am sure you would agree.
I spoke with the Croatian Embassy and they were very clear there is no temporary arrangement for manual working . The process to get a permit though seems much simpler and less bureaucratic and the details are here. The Croatian economy is crying out for skilled workers though, so if you were looking for a change of scenery, the work regs are here!
For direct contact the best address advised by the Embassy to contact is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Republic of Cyprus
Cyprus is part of the Commonwealth of Nations and as such has long working ties with the UK since it independence in 1960. The working status for contractors is that we would need to have work permits but there are some categories where this may not apply, if for example the company had an office in Cyprus under the "Special Categories of Employment" section 3, a company like Google for instance. There is information here for artists, and although not onerous as a task, it still requires paperwork to enter.
The London Embassy website is set up well and has many links for the information that you will need. When I contacted them they poinetd me to this site for information which in itself has contact details to get more information. There is also the link to the Cyprus Labour Ministry here.
Another country that has a large filming industry and there is therefore a large amount of information. Under the exemptions list there is this description which I think would cover you as an exhibition contractor especially if you were working with a Czech contractor on site.
"Next wide group is formed of Pedagogue, academic or research worker participating in a scientific meeting, pupil or student under the age of 26, athlete or person supplying goods or services in the Czech Republic or supplying or performing assembly on based on a commercial contract or performing warranty and repair work, whose performance in the territory of the Czech Republic does not exceed 7 consecutive days or 30 days in the aggregate per calendar year.
Denmark has no provision for temporary working and the install of Exhiition stands. It is one of the few countries that also makes no provision for the artists support network that I can see. The websites are not clear and the Danish London Embassy just pointed me to the immigration site which has a clunky series of boxes that do not apply to our industry in the slightest. There is a codicil in the Artist section that says "The scheme is aimed at, but not exclusively limited to, artists, athletes and specialised chefs among others." You should ask your nearest Danish consulate for advice for your particular project.
Bottom line, you have to be invited by a Danish company and be vital to their economy and even a recognised artist has to deposit its earnings in a Danish bank account. This is possible nowadays with banks like Transferwise where you can create numerous accounts on line but I don't know if that would be considered a Danish account or very practical for freelancers.
One of the most advanced nations in the world when it comes to tech and connectivity and it has loads of information out there. The Embassy were very helpful and they replied with the below information.
"For UK citizens Schengen visa is not required when the period of stay in Estonia does not exceed 90 days within the 180 days period. During this 90 days period short term working is allowed. This rule does not apply for non UK citizens holding UK resident permit.
Starting from the 1st of April 2021, entering Estonia with the aim to work for a longer period, the Estonian long term D-visa has to be applied."
As I have said before, personal circumstances may make this void, but looks like Estonia is on the Good list!!
I missed Finland first time around for which I apologise. The Finnish Ministry of Labour has useful links but none with overly good news for our section of the industry. There are, however, some ideas of how your individual circumstances could be relevant on the work without a residency page there is a clear indication for artists and support teams which I know will apply to many.
"You do not need a residence permit for an employed person or any other residence permit if you meet these conditions:
you have been invited to work in Finland or you have signed a contract to work in Finland and you will work for a maximum of 90 days;
And you must also work in one of the following positions:
an interpreter, a teacher, a specialist or a sports judge or referee; or
a professional artist, coach or athlete, or a member of an assistance or support team for such a person."
So as normal I would approach the Finnish Embassy in London for individual advice.
France was the first to make it very clear we were welcome to come and work in the ways we had done before the Withdrawal agreement. Confirmation for those who may need it is here;
I have checked and the need to still fill in the SIPSI is current. The updated detail and the required links are here
I have had a reply from the German Embassy in London and part of their reply is below. Their advice for exhibition installs is that there is no temporary arrangement as yet and to seek individual legal advice before committing to a contract. There is ,however, a grey area for music or installing a stand for a cultural event, so heed the advice and check before you engage in a contract.
"British citizens require a visa and/or residence permit for any stay beyond 90 days within any 180 day period or involving any activity considered gainful employment.
Some activities may not be considered employment such as standard business travel, academic exchanges and concerts or other cultural performances if within certain time limits. Check with your host or take legal advice whether you require a visa authorizing employment. The Embassy is not authorized to provide you with individual legal advice."
On my many travels I have been lucky to meet many delightful people and companies that value my work and input and one of these is Eventful Management in Munich. Edwin Courts is a very reliable source of information on Germany and has the "in country" knowledge to help your project should you wish.
He is happy to be contacted on email@example.com
You can also find information on starting work or carrying out work in Germany at
As many of us have experienced, this beautiful country can deliver surprises! I have looked throught the details on the Embassy website and other independent sites and the Corporate and Exhibition markets are mentioned and named. This is a great result. It does, however require you have a C to attend an event and D class Visa to work . I have asked the Embassy to clarify whether that is a Schengen Visa. If it is, it is dull ,as our project timings wont be able to factor the visa application times I am sure.
There are no exceptions that I can see but lots of information here that points out the details you will need.
As a country it doesn't have a great reputation for immigration tolerance and the search for ways in for UK based companies is pretty bleak. Hungary is a huge filming destination though and has therefore modelled a specific channel for third national countries if you are filming. This company Progressive deals with film crews and has advice on visas which may be of use. I did manage to get an answer from the embassy set out below ;
"In reply to your email about temporary work (not exceeding 90 days within 180 days), I’d like to inform you that in line with the relevant regulations (Annex 2 to Government Order No. 445/2013 (XI.28), the Hungarian partner must submit an application to the labour/employment centre of the government office (in Hungarian: kormányhivatal munkaügyi központja) in whose area of competence the work will take place. The government office issues a decision, which is sent to the applicant."
Regardless of the purpose of stay, British citizens can travel to Hungary without obtaining any type of visa and stay there for up to 90 days. ."
For those wishing to go down the route of working here, there are some "company Director" ways of getting on but just as a manager not as a worker. There is a company Helpers that has some very clear information. But as the above detail shows there may be some light in Hungary for us.
As most of you will have summised this one should be easy. It's best to remember though that although an English speaking country, it is firmly in Europe for some issues including all goods and transporting of those goods.
There is an agreement between the UK and Ireland that recognises the common travel area (CTA) and this recognises the rights of citizens from both sides,
"Irish and UK citizens have the right to live, travel, work and study within the Common Travel Area."
This Agreement, that goes back a century has been reaffirmed in 2019 but only applies to citizens. If you have non citizens i.e non UK or Irish, on your project, you will need to contact the Embassy and apply for work permits or visas depending on the individuals circumstances. So thats a good start!!
There is a really simple questionnaire that tells you if you need a visa or not . For those of you used to Italian documentation, this is a revelation and it's a format that would be great for other countries to embrace.The list of documents you do require even if you don't need a visa is not on the link however, (These documents are pretty much in line with what you would require to get a Schengen visa,) I have listed them below.
Contract or invitation letter for the project showing accommodation,
Proof of ability to pay for yourself or your sponsor to pay for you.
If over 8 days you will need to attend the Questura and register for a resident permit for which you will need:
Proof or work
Proof of ability to provide financially for yourself, bank statements
Passport and possibly a signed verification by an independent source that it is you.
Proof of address
4. Proof of return travel, ticket etc
5. At least 3 months on your passport.
I would absolutely not recommend coming to Italy without the correct paperwork, as the on site checks here can be daily and can be very agressive.
Latvia has a system for business visitors which most EU countries do not. There is a specific need for Business visitors to be invited and to inform the relevant authorities. This is not for work but just for meetings so be prepared for this difference. The Embassy were very forthcoming about the two part process required for temporary work, with a detailed reply which I have dropped in below.
"UK nationals who’s travel to Latvia involves paid activity must apply for a visa. The competent authority in Latvia in immigration matters is the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA). On their website you can find detailed information on how to obtain work visa https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/employment-foreigners
Embassy is issuing work visas based on the invitation approved by the OCMA. As soon as the invitation is approved, person may apply for a visa at the embassy. Information on the visa application process and required documents is available on the following website https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/london/consular-information/entry-into-latvia "
They also went on to remind me that during Covid lockdowns, the isolation period after arrival is 14 days and non negotiable.
I got a very brief but imformative reply from the Lithuanian Embassy in london as below.
"hereby we confirm that citizens of the UK do not need visa to come to Lithuania in order to install a temporary Exhibition stand."
This is great news for us all, but as always personal or political change may stop this, so please check with Erika at the Embassy.
The smallest country on our list but it packs a huge punch economically in Europe. There are a few useful links that back up the permit requirement. There is, however a link I have copied here below.
"The following are not subject to a work permit, on condition that they work in Luxembourg for less than 3 months per calendar year:
staff from fairground attractions, circuses and other travelling establishments;
workers in the entertainment industry without regular employment;
invited researchers, conference speakers and university lecturers;
persons on business trips, such as travel to visit business partners, to explore and develop professional contacts, to negotiate and conclude contracts, to participate in fairs, shows and exhibitions as well as to take part in meetings of the board of directors and general meetings of the company;
all persons carrying out a service within the same group of companies (excluding any work carried out in the framework of subcontracting)."
I think this adds Luxembourg to the good list for our purposes.
When you start looking for information on Malta you will be directed to Identity Malta Agency
This Agency is the official channel for all things Work. It too is a Commonwealth Nation and has good ties with the UK. I have yet to hear from the work agency for specific details but I will update when I do.
I had contact with the Brexit customer care team at Identity Malta and they sent me these details.
"After the 1st of January, all UK nationals coming on basis of employment need an employment licence.
If the job is less than six months you need to apply on firstname.lastname@example.org
If the job is for more than six months you need to apply on the email@example.com"
As I looked through the information there seems to be a will to make this process clean and quick, so I would get in contact with IMA.
I had a great reply from the Dutch Embassy and they sent a pdf document which covers alot of detail. As you may know for Exhibition installs you are exempt from a work permit, but nice to have it in writing.
"When is a work permit not required?
A work permit is not required for:
1. a labor migrant performing occasional work for a maximum period of 12 consecutive weeks
within an overall time frame of 36 weeks, consisting of:
a. installing or repairing machinery supplied by the person's employer, which is established
outside the Netherlands
b. installing or adapting software supplied by the employer, which is established outside
the Netherlands, or instructing local employees in the use of this software;
c. preparing, installing, holding or dismantling of an exhibition, or a stand within a larger
exhibition or trade fair;
d. for the purpose of attending a (in-house company) training in the Netherlands, provided
that the training is limited to: observation, to become familiair with the company, and
receiving instructions under the guidance of a trainer.
2. a labor migrant performing occasional work for a maximum period of 4 weeks within a time
frame of 13 weeks that consists of holding business meetings or concluding agreements .
3. a labor migrant who is holding a residence permit stating that he is free to accept employment
(i.e., a labor migrant who has had a work permit and residence permit to work as a labor migrant for an uninterrupted period of five years)."
I emailed them for information on NFIA UK <firstname.lastname@example.org> .
Alternatively, you could contact the economic section of the British Embassy in the Netherlands with questions on rules for British people working in the Netherlands. DITNetherlands@fco.gov.uk. I did, however, get a very Government like response which ommitted the above useful details, but just quoted the Withdrawal Agreement at me.
Although I know it is not strictly in the EU it is worth a mention here I believe. We have heard a lot about the Norway agreement and the Greenland arrangement. Well so you know, we don't have one with Norway! It's madness not to have a connection with one of the richest countries in the world, but there it is. I did look at the seasonal work way in. This is essentially for fruit pickers and other work that can only be done in season, not festivals sadly, it explicitly says not for trades. The UDI which is the immigration platform has information on being self employed, but essentially, there is no temporary arrangement and you would have to have a job before you apply for a residence permit. I am not sure how big the market is for events, so maybe the lobby won't be huge but this is one of the most convoluted to get around. If you wish to apply for a residence permit, the Norwegian Embassy has the process here.
The Polish Embassy and immigartion portals are very heavy with Withdrawal Agreement sections that rely on you having a copy to hand and understanding the terminology. The bottom line is that there is no temporary work solution for Exhibition and corporate installs but there is an allowance for artists. There are some grey areas on the Polish immigration portal which may help,
Section 5. "performing artistic services, solo or in troupes, lasting up to 30 days in a calendar year;"
Section 8 "performing work in relation with internationally prominent sporting events directed by a relevant international sport organisation;" for those of you working in boxing or football for instance.
The best information I got was actually from a Czech website which has a clear list of exemptions but Exhibitions and corporate installs are not on it but section 12 may be of use for some areas of the industry.
When looking through the Portuguese sites the information is mostly aimed at people retiring there from the UK, a way off for some of us I'm sure. It does seem that a temporary stay visa is the way to go, as you will see "show business" mentioned. I had some conflicting details from their Embassy which I have added here which contradicts the websites for immigration.
"In theory, as long as the work in question is not under the responsibility of company that is located in Portugal, and the stay is inferior to 90 days, no Visa should be required, but I would ask you to always confirm with SEF (our Portuguese Borders Service): https://www.sef.pt/en/Pages/homepage.aspx "
"Per current guidelines British nationals, now classified as third country citizens, do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, within a 180 day period, inside the Schengen Area. This is also applicable to work related trips, except where the applicant is directly employed by a company based in Portugal (in these cases a seasonal work visa may be required). Nationalities that are not exempt of visa requirement when crossing into the Schengen area must always apply for a visa, even if the stay is inferior to 90 days."
What seems critical here is the definition of "work" and as each case is different my advice would be to contact the Embassy or a local consulate of which unusually they have many or the aforementioned SEF.
The most succinct information is here. if you are happy to be applying for a permit the best self employment information is here form the portuguese immigration website.The information on Portugal counts for the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira as well.
The website from the Embassy has a lot of detail but none relevant to our work situation. The short message is , you need a visa. The artist exemption is just for artists that I can see and there is no other temporary category that I can find. I have looked on the visa websites, and to determine if you need one, i.e you are not Romanian,have a look here. The Embassy in London was less than forthcoming and I am waiting to hear from Bucharest.
With all EU nations you do not need a visa to enter Slovakia for 90 days in the 180 but you will need a permit to work. Like a lot of countries in the 27 states, this relates to a residence permit and also your job being advertised locally before you arrive, to give home nationals a chance at the job. An independent website from Mondaq has a lot of useful information as well as the Ministry of Labour. The Slovakian London Embassy has a general page but nothing specific for our industry that helps but they did reply with the below detail.
"Workers – United Kingdom nationals – posted from the United Kingdom to Slovakia to perform work after 31 December 2020 need to comply with conditions of the national legislation applicable to nationals of third countries and will have to apply for a work permit in accordance with the valid Act No 5/2004 Coll. on employment services, as amended."
The Embassy replied with confirmation that we will need to have permits etc. for temporary work. I have searched for exemptions but there are none for our side of the industry, not even as sponsored guests.
"In order to work in Slovenia, UK citizens will usually need to obtain a relevant work permit, as they are no longer entitled to the benefits of EU citizens. For more information on work and residence permits, please follow the link: https://infotujci.si/ "
The link above is fairly useless to us as it only states what you can have and prices. There are no exemptions to any of the categories that I can see.
have had nothing useful from either the Spanish Embassy in London or the British Embassy in Madrid apart from a lot of references.
There is also in most of the documents a mention of "highly qualified professional" and also "Possess the required professional qualification or accredited experience, sufficient in the exercise of the professional activity, as well as, where appropriate, membership when required". This may be an avenue to explore with a good CV but it still requires a Visa process. Try this link as your step off point.
Its convoluted in Spain, but I have no doubt that the importance of UK companies in Barcelona for instance, for major exhibitions, has not gone unnoticed and something will be worked out soon.
Nope, Nej, Niente!! Nothing to report that is useful for Exhibitions and corporate installs. The artist side is well covered but after a good look through there is no specific mention of anyone else that is not involved with an Artist being exempt.
A possible way around it is to be invited in by one of the listed companies, convoluted, sure , but worth investigating I think, but I have no knowledge of what the requirements from one of these companies would be to make it worth their while.
Familiar ground for many of us, with Carnets being normal and each Canton having different work regulations and tax and Vat requirements. The immigration office has lots of useful information on the work processes in each Canton. In short it is the employing companies responsibility now to inform the local Canton and receive permission for a third nation national to work in Switzerland. The permits are detailed here but I would imagine it would be a call to your nearest consulate in the UK or use the contacts here to get the most relevant detail
The Swiss and UK Governments signed a temporary agreement on the mobility of supplier services between the two countries. Quite remarkably as in the WA there is no mention of exemption for anything that is artistic in nature except for tour managers under the tourism section, which I can only think is not the type of tour manager we would think it is !
I, like many others have felt the enormous backlash of the Withdrawal Agreement and what it has done to our work prospects in the above countries. We are in unprecedented times with a world pandemic, and this is sheilding how much work we are actually losing out on in Europe.
When the travel restrictions are lifted over Europe, all we can hope for is action from our Politicians to get us back to work.
There are many individuals and organisations thankfully putting pressure on Government not to be tardy in getting negotiations started, but the pace of Goverment speaks for itself.
As a company we can help you in Italy and the UK by rights of residency and we are able to help you negotiate the processes of working in Italian Exhibition halls, Locations and venues.