Non-EU Bands Working in the UK

Whitefern-1You may think that you’re coming to the UK just to play a few gigs and see a bit of the country, but unless you hold a passport from a country in the European Union (EU) then Her Majesty’s Government thinks that you’re a temporary immigrant, so since 2008 it’s had UK Visas and Immigration (previously the UK Border Agency) keeping an eye on you.  To UKVI visiting non-EU musicians are Tier 5 temporary workers in the “creative and sporting” category, and need both a sponsor and a certificate of sponsorship before they can perform anywhere in the United Kingdom.  (That’s England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, – but you knew that!).  There are serious penalties (deportation, anyone?) if you’re caught working without a certificate, so why chance it?

Only a person or organisation registered as a sponsor with UK Visas and Immigration can apply for a certificate of sponsorship.  The process is no worse than most form-filling exercises, but it works better and faster if it’s done by someone with regular and current experience of the system and an established relationship with UKVI.  Use that someone as your sponsor, and a lot of the strain goes out of your tour arrangements.

The British Bluegrass Music Association (BBMA) has an A rating in UKVI’s Register of Tier 5 Sponsors, and from the time the current legislation was introduced we can demonstrate a successful track record of processing certificates of sponsorship for visiting bands.  Our charge for this service is competitive with other service providers, and since it is a flat fee rather than a percentage-based charge, tour budgeting is easier.  Why not use us for your next UK tour?

But We Can Help

Tuttles%20hi-res[1]It may sound as though UKVI likes to make life difficult for visiting bands, but it ain’t so!  All countries have a bit of visitor bureaucracy in place to separate the musical wheat from the chaff.  The UK’s procedures are fair and straightforward if you get the right support.  We love visiting bands!  Get the BBMA’s Tour Support Service working for you, and start planning your next tour of these islands.  Contact us at

And a final thought.  All profits made by the BBMA Tour Support Service go towards the promotion of Bluegrass music in the UK.  Everybody wins!

Please follow these 3 steps to access our support:

1.  Contact our Tour Support Team at giving a brief description of your touring intentions, dates and numbers of performers etc. One of our team will reply with a brief description of what is required from you and supply our paperwork for you to complete, which includes a guide to the scheme and the form filling.

2.  Follow the instructions given to you with the paperwork and return the completed items as directed; don’t worry we are on the end of a phone to help if there’s anything you don’t understand.

3.  Arrange payment with the representative that contacts you.