The Joy of Sets! To build or not to build.

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Over the last few weeks I have been able to get more detail from some Embassies for UK residents, re, installing exhibition stands in the 26 member states. This information is in reply to my questions to the 5 main markets, in my working experience, in Europe, re their temporary work regulations. I make no attempt at tackling trucking as this has been covered admirably by KB Event MD, Stuart McPherson and the YouTube link is worth a watch.

Its not conclusive for all countries due to your personal situation, but the countries listed below have better detail than they did at the begining of the year.


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

Bon Travail!


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 <> .

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. I did, however, get a very Government like response which ommitted the above useful details, but just quoted the Withdrawal Agreement at me.


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.

  1. Contract or invitation letter for the project showing accommodation,
  2. Proof of ability to pay for yourself or your sponsor to pay for you.
  3. If over 8 days you will need to attend the Questura and register for a resident permit for which you will need:
    1. Proof or work
    2. Proof of ability to provide financially for yourself, bank statements
    3. Passport and possibly a signed verification by an independent source that it is you.
    4. Proof of address

4. Proof of return travel, ticket etc

5. At least 3 months on your passport.

6. Insurance.

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.


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

You can also find information on starting work or carrying out work in Germany at


I 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 no exemption for Exhibition installs that I can see but the details for temporary workers and management workers set out what is required on the Spanish Goverment portal for immigration.

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.

Covid Travel.

It is to be understood from my blog that I am currently talking in ideal working situations. The reality is that most borders from the UK are currently closed to travellers unless for humaitarian reasons and absolute essential travel. The Embassies reflect this and all the 5 above have restrictions on applications for Visas and permits, where they are required, and are only processing emergency visas at the moment.

Please also bear in mind the burden of proof for why you are travelling, for what you say you are travelling for, is entirely yours, not the Customs officers’ and that extra documents are required for all countries in the EU even if no visa requirements are needed, as partly detailed in the Italian section.

The major caveat to all this information is, it will change, and hopefully after Friday 8th February when the petition put forward by Tim Brennan for a Visa free work permit for Touring Professionals and Artists is debated in Parliament, we may see a push for quick change. Good luck this Friday Tim.

For Penhaligon Event Consultants like so many others, we have lost the ease of access to major markets that we had before, and with the exception of France we have lost some major markets like Spain and Germany, which will see a reduction of 25% of our business if production companies decide to use local companies instead.

The upside is that if production companies or tech companies are looking in Italy, we are here, legally, as well as in the UK, to support, project manage, source suppliers, carry out your design and build requirements and help develop projects as required.

So as I embark on another week of job searching and working out how to get back on the event industry bucking bronco, a quick thank you to the kind words of reassurance I receive from readers, you know who you are.

Photos: Shutterstock

I try to only give facts from official sources for my Blog as there are lots of places to hear opinions and incorrect information, so hopefully this will steer you where you need to be on your future projects, and if I have missed anything, I am happy to include your input next week.

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