Brexit - working in the EU as a performer or creative worker

The Equity guide to working abroad in the European Union under new Brexit rules 

Updated May 2021

We've worked with Deloitte to bring you the most up to date information about working in the EU as a creative worker or performer. If you are a non-UK born Equity member, you can also find here advice on navigating new rules on living and working in the UK.

Download Equity guides on working in the EU

Country by country guide from Arts Council England

Arts Council England have put together a practical guide to touring across Europe for UK performing artists and companies, including a country by country guide.

View Arts Council England's guide

Frequently asked questions

What is the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)?

The EUSS is the name of the scheme which allows EU nationals to apply to protect their status in the UK. There are two types of status under the EUSS, pre-settled status and settled status.

What is pre-settled status?

‘Pre settled status’ is a temporary five-year visa which allows the holder to apply for ‘settled status’ at a later date once reaching 5 years in the UK.

What is settled status?

Those who have lived in the UK for at least five years, meet the residence requirements and have sufficient documents to evidence this can apply for ‘settled status’ (indefinite leave to remain/permanent residence).

Can I lose pre-settled or settled status?

Yes. Pre-settled status can be lost if you spend more than two continuous years outside of the UK. Also, if you spend more than six months in any 12-month period you may not be able to apply for settled status (limited exceptions apply). Settled status can be lost if you spend more than five continuous years out of the UK.

Who should apply under the EUSS?

The EUSS is open to EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who are residing in the UK or arrived here prior to 31 December 2020. People of other nationalities could apply where they are a family member of an EU, EEA, or Swiss national that has acquired either pre-settled or settled status (or is applying at the same time). Family members could also apply where the EU, EEA, or Swiss national holds dual British citizenship, providing the family lived together in the UK before obtaining British nationality. It may also be possible for family members where the EU, EEA, or Swiss national has died, or where there has been a breakdown of the relationship. NOTE: Family members wishing to apply under the EUSS should either apply at the same time or after the EU/EEA/Swiss national.

EU citizens will be issued with a digital confirmation of status that can be verified online. Non-EEA family will be issued with a
physical Biometric Residence Card (BRC) confirming their status. Equity has been campaigning for physical documents to be made available to our members for the purpose of finding work.

What is the deadline to apply under the EUSS?

Those who entered on or before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to apply under the EUSS.

How do I apply under the EUSS?

You will be asked to complete an application form to provide basic factual information about you and your residence in the UK. This is normally completed via an app, but it could be completed on a computer too.

What is the cost?

Applications are free of charge. An appointment fee may be charged if you have to attend a biometrics appointment.

How long should a decision take?

Applications should be decided within one to two weeks. However, the Home Office have taken longer to make a decision on some applications. This may be caused by certain complexities, or general factors, such as COVID-19.

What evidence will I receive to prove I obtained a status under the EUSS?

EU citizens will be issued with a digital confirmation of status that can be verified online. Non-EEA family will be issued with a
physical Biometric Residence Card (BRC) confirming their status. Equity has been campaigning for physical documents to be made available to our members for the purpose of finding work.

As a British national, what do I need to do to enter the EU as a business traveller?

After the end of the transition period, UK citizens can continue to visit the EU countries without a visa. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival. Extra months on a passport over 10 years may not count towards the six months. UK citizens will be subject to Schengen rules and will not be permitted to spend more than 90 days in a 180-day period of time in the Schengen area. Activities will be limited to those permitted as a business visitor in the host location.

What are considered as business activities in the EU/EEA?

These vary across member states, but in general the following activities are permitted: Attending business meetings, attending a trade show or seminar convention, touring a company facility. You need to check the full list of activities that will be permitted in a specific country.

As a UK national, can I still come to one of the EU/EEA member states to work?

UK nationals arriving in EU countries are subject to each host country’s local work and residence regulations, and will need to
make an application to be able to live and work in one of the EU/EEA member states.

Are there changes for UK citizens visiting Ireland and Irish citizens visiting the UK?

No changes, as the rights of Irish citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Ireland are protected under the Common Travel Area
Arrangement (CTA).

I am resident in the UK – will I have to make social security contributions if I go and work in another country?

Members who work abroad may find themselves subject to deductions for the foreign equivalents of national insurance. The amounts involved may be far higher than they are here under the Class 2 National Insurance regime. For this reason, members are often well advised to seek a Certificate of Continuing Liability (A1 Certificate) in order to continue being liable for UK National Insurance whilst abroad and to avoid liability to pay foreign contributions. Go to gov.uk/national-insurance-if-you-go-abroad to apply for a certificate, preferably several weeks before the contract commences as it may take time for HMRC to process the request.

Has Brexit made any difference to the rules on social security contributions abroad for those working in the EU?

The government has clarified the position on A1 certificates following Brexit. All EU countries have opted in to what are known
as the ‘‘detached worker’’ rules which formed part of the EU/UKTrade and Cooperation Agreement. This means that when you are working in the EU on a temporary contract of less than two years, you should be able to retain liability to UK National Insurance and obtain A1 certificates as was the case before Brexit.

There are similar rules for Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Iceland covered at gov.uk/national-insurance-if-you-go-abroad. Beyond those places, there are specific rules for countries where we have a bilateral social security agreement such as Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and the USA – these are covered at gov.uk/national-insurance-if-you-go-abroad, which also describes the position for other countries outside of the EEA (European Economic Area) and not covered by bilateral agreements.


Stay up to date

Rules relating to Brexit and working in the EU may change. While the information contained on this page and in the guides is believed to be accurate as of May 2021, no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting, or refraining from acting, as a result the material contained herein can be accepted by Equity. For Immigration advice, you must contact advisers/lawyers who are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). To find your local OISC registered adviser go to OISC Adviser Finder

Lobby your MP

Lobby your MP to fix the Brexit crisis in the entertainment sector.