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Flowchart Guide to Working in Europe

Updated: 17 May 2022 | 11:29 AM

Post Brexit deal, touring and gigging in Europe sees the need for an increasing portfolio of documents to ensure trouble-free passage, to, from and through the 27 member states of the EU.

To help musicians with the increased administration, we have compiled an interactive flowchart for musicians travelling to the EU – either solo or in groups – to assist in making sure you have the correct documentation prior to setting off. The flowchart guide contains links to useful online resources.

Latest update

The MU has revised its Flowchart for musicians visiting the EU, as the UK government has confirmed that portable musical instruments and equipment - provided they are accompanied - can be taken out of the UK without the need for a ATA Carnet, either as a foot passenger on public transport or in a vehicle. How this will work when crossing borders into the EU remains to be clarified as the EU legislation only talks about portable musical instruments. We strongly recommend you check the customs arrangements of the country you are travelling to. If you are in doubt, we recommend you apply for an ATA Carnet. Please check the MU’s latest Working in the EU news for further updates.

Note: The Flowchart information is largely obtained from Government departments. The advice is as up to date as it can be. How the rules operate in EU territories will only become clear in the fullness of time.  


Additional advice

It is absolutely vital to be as well prepared as possible.

  • Some of the administration can be completed in advance of work being offered, such as a valid passport and a range of insurances, including instrument and equipment cover, PLI, and business travel insurance.
  • Be aware, you will need to check the requirements for each of the member states you will be visiting as they often differ from each other. Follow the link in the flowcharts under ‘Work Permits.’
  • If you require a CITES Musical Instrument Certificate, we recommend obtaining one immediately. The Certificate lasts for three years and currently there is no charge.
  • Where individual musicians are travelling alone to or from a gig, or between tours or different gigs, part of their travel may have been organised by a tour manager. It is key to establish who is responsible for acquiring and paying for the relevant documentation, insurance, carnets, visas etc.
  • If you are flying out to join a tour, you may not have proof of a ‘return journey’ because you intend coming back with the group. We recommend liaising in advance with the tour management to avoid any oversights.
  • Remember that securing the correct ‘paperwork’ once you have left the UK can be extremely difficult.

N.B. Musicians are encouraged to seek further advice from the appropriate authorities to ensure the relevant documentation is obtained. See the example here.

Please visit the MU website regularly for the latest information, as travel requirements are subject to change.

Some further information points are available here:

Mobility Information points (PDF)

Mobility Information points

MobiCulture website

Guide on crossing EU border