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The Essentials

What you need to know if you’re an EU citizen who is auditioning or working in the UK.

Published on 4 February 2021.

As you know the UK has now left the European Union and as a result, there are changes to the rules and regulations around travel and work.

More details will hopefully become clear in the months to come but in the meantime, we’ve put together this guide for actors from the EU who are planning to work in the UK.

It’s always best to double-check for new rules in case anything changes but as things stand we’ve included links where relevant and here’s what we currently know.

EU Citizens Currently Residing in the UK

If you’re an EU citizen who has been living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, your rights will remain the same until 30 June 2021. If you wish to continue residing in the UK and you’re not a British national, it’s important to make sure you have all of your residency documents in order and most importantly, you need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to get either settled or pre-settled status. Which status you get depends on how long you’ve been living in the UK.

The application deadline is 30 June 2021 and it’s free to apply.

  • If you have permanent residence you’ll need to apply for settled status although the process will be slightly different.
  • If you have Irish citizenship, you will not need to apply for settled status.
  • If you have indefinite leave to enter or remain, you do not need to apply for settled status however if you choose to apply and meet all the conditions, you’ll be able to spend up to five years in a row outside of the UK without losing your settled status, rather than the current two years.

Check here if you need to apply.


EU citizens can come to the UK for leisure and tourism as visitors for six months without needing a visa. Those coming to the UK to shoot on location for an overseas production can enter without a visa for limited periods of time – check here if you need a visa to enter the UK.

There are a number of criteria that need to be met to qualify for a visa, these include:

  • a certificate of sponsorship reference number from a licensed sponsor
  • be paid the minimum salary as set by Equity
  • have at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row to support yourself. If your employer will be supporting you instead, this needs to be confirmed on your certificate of sponsorship.

Read more about the visa criteria.

If you’ll be working in the UK for three months or less

You may be able to use the Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa (T5) Concession. This means you can enter the UK without applying for a visa in advance if you have a valid certificate of sponsorship and do not normally need a visa to enter the UK as a visitor. It’s worth knowing that there is no option to extend this visa.

If you enter the UK using this option then you must see an immigration officer when you arrive – do not use the ePassport gates.

If you’ll be working in the UK for more than three months

If you’ve been offered work in the UK and are an actor, dancer, musician, film crew member etc. you’ll need to apply for a Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting Visa (T5).

You can apply for a T5 visa up to three months before the date you’re due to start work and you’ll get a decision on your visa within three weeks of application. You can also pay for your visa to be fast-tracked if you need it sooner.

The visa application fee is £244 however this cost is reduced to £55 if you’re from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.

The visa will be valid for a maximum of 12 months, or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter. You can apply to extend your visa but must do so before it expires.

As part of your application, you’ll need an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) number. You can read more about this in the healthcare section below.

Visas when Hiring UK Talent

For EU employers looking to hire UK talent, it’s likely that workers will need to be awarded their visa before arriving in the EU to work. The visa application may also ask for proof of employment. Check the visa rules for the country the artist(s) will be working in, and allow extra time for the visa application process when hiring.

Irish passport holders

The UK and Irish Governments committed to maintaining the Common Travel Area (CTA), which means British and Irish citizens can move freely and have the right to work and study in either state.

Long-term Immigration to the UK

A points-based system now applies if you’re looking to take up long-term residency or permanent employment in the UK.

This means you’ll need to:

  • Have a job offer in a high-skilled profession
  • Be able to speak English
  • Be able to reach a points threshold through a combination of salary, qualifications and whether there’s a skills shortage in the UK

Read more about how the points-based immigration system works.

The Government’s website also has plenty of practical information and documentation if you’d like to know more.


As part of your visa application, you may need to pay a healthcare surcharge. Find out more information about whether you need to pay the surcharge and get your IHS reference number. You can also use the UK government’s calculator to see how much this may cost.


Please note that his page will be updated as more information becomes available so if something is missing or if you spot anything that doesn’t seem quite right please contact us at questions@spotlight.com.

Main image by A Perry via Unsplash.