There are two main visit routes which are open to artists and entertainers depending on the type and length of activity undertaken, the Visit (standard) route and the Visit (Permitted Paid Engagements) route.
Standard Visit Visa
Individuals seeking entry through the Standard Visit route will need to meet the requirements of the route, which includes demonstrating that they:
- are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor for the purposes stated;
- intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit;
- do not intend to undertake a course of study unless this is incidental to their visit and is no more than 30 days;
- will maintain and accommodate themselves without using public funds or taking employment other than as permitted by the route;
- can meet the cost of the return or onward journey;
- are not in transit to a country outside the common travel area.
Standard Visit route is open to:
Entertainers, artists and musicians who want to:
- give performances as individuals or as part of a group;
- take part in competitions or auditions;
- make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities; – attend workshops and give talks about their work;
- take part in one or more cultural events or festivals on the list of permit free festivals in Appendix 5 to Appendix V: Immigration Rules for Visitors.
A full list of permitted activities is available in Appendix 3 to Appendix V: Immigration Rules for Visitors.
Leave may be granted for up to 6 months but no paid or unpaid employment is permitted, apart from individuals taking part in a Permit Free Festival.
Visit (Permitted Paid Engagements)
The Visit (Permitted Paid Engagements) route allows professionals who are over 18 years to stay in the UK for up to 1 month to undertake specific paid engagements as listed in Appendix 4 of Appendix V: Immigration Rules for Visitors.
It allows professional artists and entertainers (individuals and groups) who are invited to carry out one, or a short-series of permitted paid engagements relating to their profession for up to 1 month (single entry visit only). It extends to the performing and creative arts and includes musicians, visual artists, make-up artists, writers, circus practitioners, film makers, dancers, choreographers and photographers as examples. It allows individuals to carry out an activity/activities in, or relating to, their profession – for example, giving performances, judging panels, giving lectures, book signings, exhibiting and selling their works.
- Visitors must meet all the eligibility requirements as listed above and provide evidence that demonstrates: the activity relates to their full-time profession overseas and/or qualifications where appropriate; and
- they have a formal invitation from a UK-based arts organisation, broadcaster or agent, confirming details of the engagement.
Arts organisations can include organisations involved in artistic endeavours such as galleries, arts faculties/departments in universities and schools, and venues involved in producing or the staging of events.
Acceptable documentary evidence can include publicity material for the engagement; evidence of awards; media coverage; reviews; or information on recent performances and publications.