The Joy of Sets! Permit or Visa?

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I have seen a lot of tooing and froing re working in the EU for Brits who need to do physical work this week, so I thought I would add a little fuel and clarity to the confusing fire.

I have spent most of the last two jobless months looking at how we can help clients coming to Italy. We have set up a supply chain here in Italy and I have as much clarity as is possible in Italy re paperwork and people required to work here for Third National countries. I have had to read alot about Visas, permits and insurances.

Generally it needs to be understood that there is no silver bullet yet around for any temporary working in Europe. Whether you apply for a permit or a visa the mindset needs to be that paperwork is involved and the wording of a temporary permit rather than Visa doesn’t currently mean it will be any quicker or easier to get. There are alot of confusing phrases being used but whether you are visiting an event, constructing an event, or planning an event, you need to have a new mindset of planning and paperwork. I thought I would look at these categories and add some clarity with information from Government and member country Embassy websites.

Visiting a country to only attend an event, from the UK.

(“event” encompass, sport, business, atristic performance.)

You are able to go to the EU as a tourist for 90 days in 180 consecutive days. You will still need to fulfill criteria as below to proove you are a tourist or an allowed visitor under the specific country’s regulations.

The onus is on you as a traveller to prove that this is what you are doing. It is not the responsibility of the Customs official to determine this without your proof. The minimum requirement (and I would advise this for all tourist travellers too):

1. Written proof of where you are staying.

2. At least 6 months on your passport after the proposed leaving date of this trip, (this is a requirement for visas and permits for all member states).

3. Proof of the event that you are attending, a ticket, letter of invitation to the event,

4. For all business travellers your A1. This has been a requirement since 2010 and is not new. Some countries like France have fined business travellers who can”t produce one on request.

5. Proof of travel details, either Itinerary or return ticket.

6. Ability to show your financial capability of being able to support yourself for your trip. This has different levels as you get deeper into visas but it can be asked of you as a traveller, so have a bank app on your phone for example.

7. Travel insurance. You will need to prove you have it and in most states they will require “home in a box” cover as well for repatriation. You will need an insurance certificate to apply for a visa for most member states.

Planning an Event.

It would be tempting to think that we could continue as normal, just hopping over to Europe to check out a venue or location. On the whole you would be covered in the category of the minimum requirements of the Visitor above, with invitation letter etc, but this is not entirely true. There are exceptions and sadly each country has its own individual interpretations. It is an important detail of the planning process that you will need to think of the member states as individual countries for many aspects of your event or tour. It is not possible in most countries to visit a building site for example as a business vistor, but you can go to venues and hotels etc. For this information this is where you have to delve into the individual country Embassy webpages.

I mentioned last week that the UK gov page offers no individual country help but rather points you to the Embassy pages of the member states. (see below)

I have contacted all member state Embassies by email and this has yielded no responses so far re temporary working for installing exhibition stands as an example, but maybe this being the first full working week of the year, I may get a response.

Physical working,

Definition of work is not just construction, but with some exceptions, (country specific again I’m afraid) it includes any physical involvement in an event as described in the first Visitor category, sport, artistic, business apart from just visting and attending meetings.

As I mentioned at the beginning there is no silver bullet. The UK Government opted out of freedom of movement for workers so we are where we are. For EU artistic and sporting vistors to the UK there is what was called the T5, now catchily called the Temporary Worker Creative and Sport Visa.

There is no such thing yet universally for Europe member states for British citizens, but there is a lot of pressure to try and find a solution with petitions in Parliament etc. There are some states offering temporary work permits for our industry Rock and Roll touring being an example but each state has its own conditions for these, so revert back to the Embassy.

I cannot emphasise enough about planning. At the moment to build an exhibition stand in Frankfurt as a UK supplier we have to shift our mindset to working as a Third Nation country where we have no rights to supply to Germany and we do not have to be accepted if we do not meet their required citeria.

Plan , Plan ,Plan.

The German embassy for instance in the current Covid -19 crisis in London has ceased all appointments for new work visas even to get a work visa appointment, then 2-14 days to get the Visa sorted, depending on where you are in the country, when they do return, not taking into account any backlog. The German Embassy for example will only accept Visa applications through their appointed sub contractor VISAMETRIC and this is common, so fees and all documents will need to be collated and processed before the appointment. (Information correct as of 10th January 2021 on the German Embassy website)

I am not saying there won’t be ways to expedite applications through Trade bodies and agencies etc, but this is worst case and Rock and Roll touring for instance is far more used to dealing with Visas than say Corporate events. There are different requirements across other industries, science for one, but British citizens no longer have the right to travel un hindered through Europe to work, even for Rock and Roll touring companies etc.

General requirements for most working Visas are overall very similar for member states and I have detailed the main criteria below. There are Schengen Visas, Blue Cards, Multi entry etc, but their criteria are not suitable for temporary workers that I can see, mainly as you will need to have a minimum 1 year contract.( I currently don’t have temporary permit details for member states)

If you plan now and get these documents together or the ability to get them together now, you will be able to expedite your clients’ processes when they urgently need them.

  1. Maximum time on your passport. As a lot of people in our Industry do, it might be expedient to get a second one as your passport may need to go away for a while. You will need at least 6 months on your passport after the expected leave date on your Visa.
  2. Some Embassies require two passport photos for some Visas.
  3. Your complete trip Itinery, for tours your client will be able to supply this, but if you are just doing one project, a travel itinery will be required with evidence of return to the UK.
  4. Travel and liability insurance. Industry minimum for Liability is €2 million for most European countries. Certification and printed off. I would also carry these with you.
  5. Proof of accommodation, easy for a tour as the client can supply, but for sole traders slightly more complicated as pre booking is required and up front expense for hotels etc is not helpful. There are websites that you only pay on arrival, but you can reservein advance, Booking .com etc.
  6. Proof of financial means, the ability to support yourself as an individual for the length of time your Visa covers. This is different for member states. You can be sponsored in Europe by a Europe based employer, and if you are , the onus is on them to provide a letter of invitation and confirmation that they will be supporting you for your trip with financial evidence. The proof is generally 3 months recent bank statements either way.
  7. A cover letter from your company explaining the project and the reason you have to work on it, or client contract for that specific project if you are a freelancer.
  8. A completed Visa form and proof of payment.

Bored yet??

Its a lengthy subject and I hope that this has thrown at least some light on it for you.

An upside?

For some companies in the UK this means you will be able to target European companies looking to build and produce in the UK and supply them with services to save them the grief they will have supplying to the UK. We are looking at the same scenario for UK companies coming to Italy and Europe and helping them get sorted here in Italy.

To sum up, Plan, Plan Plan!

I am bound to have missed something as its a very fluid information field at the moment. If anyone can add to this information it would be gratefully received. I am happy to come back to the subject.

I am aware that I have strayed off my subject of Sustainability but I will return to that next week and we will look at supply chains for our industry.


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