Things Artists need to know when planning to tour the UK | Conversation with Duran Rapozo

The UK is a world-leading hub for the creative industries. Whether you are an actor, musician, dancer or other performing artist so we took time to speak to Duran Rapozo who is an immigration and travel consultant based in the United Kingdom so that he can give us some pointer at the beginning of the year so that entertainment stakeholders can plan in the light of travel realities. 

UK Visas & Immigration Routes for Artists and Entertainers

In order to undertake activities as an artist or entertainer in the UK, you will normally need to obtain a visa under one of the tiers of the points-based system. The points-based system has special categories and rules for those in the creative and entertainment industries. In most categories you will need to be sponsored by an employer. However, if you are going to be in the UK briefly, or for a single event or activity, one of the visitor visa categories may be more appropriate.

The main immigration routes available to artists and entertainers are:

-Creative Visitor

-Permitted Paid Engagement

-Global Talent

-Skilled Worker

-Temporary Work – Creative Worker

Employers and event organisers: 

If you are a UK organisation and are looking to employ an individual to work in the UK, you may need to sponsor them, unless they are only coming for a short period or they are eligible to come to the UK on a different basis which provides them with permission to work. To sponsor an employee, you will need to obtain a sponsor licence. If the individual will not actually be working for you then they may be eligible for a Standard Visitor visa or a Permitted Paid Engagement visa.

Festivals and Cultural Events:

If you organise a festival or cultural event, it will be much easier and cheaper for your performers to enter the UK if your event is on the Home Office’s list of permit free festivals. If your event is on the list then your performers will be able to enter the UK with a Standard Visitor visa and you will not be required to sponsor them under the points based system. They will also be able to be paid. To be included on the list, your event must have been established for at least 3 years, have had an audience of at least 15,000 at each of the last 3 festivals and expect to have an audience of at least 15,000 during the course of the next event.


Many artists from developed countries are often taken advantage of by Sponsors because they do not have managers who are knowledgeable of their rights and rules. Artists should be paid in advance whether its deposit or in full by sponsors before they embark on the tour to UK to avoid them being financially abused and not paid for the services they do in UK.  Many musicians from Africa has fallen foul of this.

Read the thin lines on your contract, that’s where most of the clauses matter.

Artists should seek legal opinion to experienced solicitors before committing to contracts.

  • Have a written contract.
  • Research your venues
  • Check your visa/work permit, your entitlements and permissions
  • Get insurance
  • Protect your self
  • Look at your well being and staff.

Have your country consulate details for emergency support needs as well as clear information of your sponsors.


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