General advice on working in the EU
Musicians who now require ATA Carnets for travel should take advantage of the MU Member exclusive discounts available through the London Chamber of Commerce (LCC) or Boomerang.
Watch the latest webinar on the ins and outs of ATA Carnets.
What is GMR and do you need one?
Updated October 2023
The MU has been looking into this issue. In 2022 reports came in that musicians with ATA Carnets were being asked for a GMR when getting their paperwork stamped.
A GMR is a Goods Movement Reference Number. There is a lot of confusion as to whether this is a requirement or not for those musicians travelling together, accompanying their instruments and equipment in vehicles and in possession of an ATA Carnet.
The Government has introduced the GVMS – Goods vehicle Movement System. The GVMS links your Carnet or Customs Declaration to your vehicle. There are certain ports and IBF’s that adopt these systems and it’s here where you will be asked to have a GMR to hand to accompany your Carnet. Not having one can lead to significant delays.
Depending on who you speak to and at which Inland Border Facility (IBF) or port you go to it seems the message is not clear.
The ports which use the GVMS are, amongst others, Eurotunnel, Dover, Holyhead. Other ports may not be GVMS registered, in which case you won't be asked for one. Some ports may not require a GMR for outbound but do for inbound. View the full list of ports using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.
Further discussions in January 2023 revealed that if you are travelling via the passenger route on Stenna Line ferries, then a GMR is NOT needed. The same has been confirmed by South Wales Border Force on the Fishguard to Rosslare route.
GMRs are generally required when booking as freight and are a requirement of the Ferry company. However, a Border Force official may well ask you for one if you have an ATA Carnet whether you are travelling as passenger OR freight.
We strongly advise when making your booking that you check with the carrier as to whether they require you to have a GMR.
View the MU video webinar from Business West regarding ATA Carnets, which explains more about GMRs. The section on GMRs is at 1’:15”:30.
Members can access Carnet advice and discounted Carnets via the Member Benefits page. Boomerang have also told us that they can organise a GMR, as can the London Chamber of Commerce and Business West.
Read more from the UK Government and apply for a GMR if you are required to get one.
Healthcare for UK nationals visiting the EU
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) mean that you are entitled to the same treatment as locals should you need to attend state-run hospitals or GP surgeries when visiting EU countries. Neither the EHIC card or the GHIC card are a replacement for travel insurance
Find out more about healthcare for UK nationals visiting the EU
Paying Social Security when working in the EU
The rules on this will vary depending on the kind of work you’re undertaking and where you are working. See the UK Government’s website for specific advice.
MU members can watch musician-specific video guidance.
Reporting lost work
MU members can always contact your regional office for advice. Please do also report any specific issues or incidences of lost work to them – as the Government is asking for evidence for our arguments.
Things to consider to be well prepared
- 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.
Further information points:
Funding to help with touring
If you are thinking of undertaking a tour, then there is some funding available through the Arts Council England and Help Musicians. Further information on funding can be found via The Unsigned Guide’s Essential Guide to Music Funding.