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UK Work Permits for Musicians Overview

Canadian musicians have to apply for a Tier 5 CoS UK Work permit to perform in the UK. Below are the details on the various options, including cost and timelines.

Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorhip Work Permits

The Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a UK temporary work permit. It is required for musicians and their crew who are performing in the UK, whether paid or unpaid (such as a showcase). Permits can be used for multiple entries and can be issued for a 3 month period. Band and crew all require this permit to work in the UK. Any stays in the UK longer than 3 months require a Visa prior to entry (which is a different process than the Tier 5 CoS permit).

How to apply: You will need a UK sponsor to apply for this permit. A sponsor is a registered company who can apply for the Tier 5 CoS permit, the sponsor will facilitate the submission of the application. There are several sponsorship agencies who will provide this service. If you are an artist with a UK agent or tour promoter they might be registered as a sponsor; it is advisable to check with them prior to going any further. Sound Diplomacy – a Canadian music export consultant company with offices in the UK – offers sponsorship as a service. Contact information for them is below.

You will be required to submit personal information (Passport info, addresses, DOB) for all band and crew, as well as entry and exit dates.

Cost: 21 Pounds for each musician or crew’s individual Tier 5 CoS plus the fee your sponsor may charge for processing. Sound Diplomacy is charging a flat all in fee of 121 Pounds which covers 1-4 musicians plus 50 Pounds for each additional musician (fees are quoted as of Oct 30, 2015 and may vary depending on sponsor and on complexity of legal and citizenship status of band/crew).

Timeline: Applications can be made 3 months from entry point to within a day of travel. It is advisable to begin work on the permit and secure a sponsor a minimum of 4 weeks from your date of travel to the UK.

Tips: You will receive a CoS number which you must have when you enter the UK. You will be asked for it by UK border officers, so make sure each person in your party has the number and has each a valid CoS number attached to their name.

If you want to enter the UK multiple times on one permit you must let your sponsor know at the time of application.

Promotional performance opportunities can count as eligible performances to extend your permit. You have a two week grace period after your last performance to remain in the UK.

Taxes: Canadian Artists will be subject up to a 20% withholding tax of performance revenue, you are able to file a UK tax return to have it returned, or show the amount as taxes paid on your Canadian tax return. Ask your agent or sponsor for further information. Tax in the UK is governed by the FEU – and is detailed in the following link: https://www.gov.uk/topic/personal-tax/foreign-entertainer-rules

Registered independent sponsors:
Sound Diplomacy – Canadian music export consultants http://www.sounddiplomacy.com/
T&S Immigration – UK Immigration and Work Permit Sponsors http://www.tandsimmigration.co.uk/

UK Gov info on the Tier 5 for Musicians – Overview of the Tier 5

Further key info on Tier 5 CoS page 119 of the following document re 3 month CoS rule:


33 Queen Street | London EC4R 1AP
Tel: (44-207) 248 4444 | Fax: (44-207) 203 1891
Web Site: www.londonchamber.co.uk

Accepts ATA Carnets For:

Commercial Samples, Exhibitions and Fairs, Professional Equipment

For more information on how to use your ATA Carnet, CLICK HERE.
To see a sample ATA Carnet, CLICK HERE.

Carnet Advisory:

The identification of jewelry should include an actual or estimated carat weight for each item. Antique or second-hand jewelry must be described as such. Carat weights should appear in column 2 of the general list with ‘est’ (for estimated) as appropriate.  In all cases, the overall weight (in gms) should appear in column 4.

The use of colour photographs, endorsed by the Canadian Chamber, is also highly recommended to aid identification.

Permission to transfer goods to a new carnet must be granted by HM Customs and Excise at the following coordinates:

National Carnet Unit

Custom House

Furness Quay, Salford M50 3XN

Tel: 0161 261 7197

E-Mail: atacarnetunit@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk