Will it be a cruel summer for Taylor Swift and her Eras Tour?

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Will it be a cruel summer for Taylor Swift and her Eras Tour?

Gemma Tracey, partner and immigration specialist in our Employment team, explains why adoring fans will be hoping the billionaire popstar knows the necessary immigration requirements for travelling to the UK all too well

UK Swifties, it’s nearly time! We’ve been watching her performances all over the world, and on 7 June 2024, Taylor Swift will be bringing her Eras Tour to the UK.

To perform in the UK, Taylor and her entourage will need to cross the UK border and comply with UK Immigration Rules. As a UK immigration lawyer, in this blog I’ll be considering the options open to Taylor and her team to enable them to perform in the UK, a country that doesn’t necessarily operate the most straightforward immigration system…

Standard visitor

As a citizen of the USA, Taylor is a non-visa national. This means that she can visit the UK without a visa and can seek leave to enter upon arrival at the UK border.

As a visitor, Taylor must be undertaking a permitted activity in the UK. Standard visitors can travel to the UK to participate in performances. They can travel for up to six months, but crucially, standard visitors cannot receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK. If Taylor will be receiving payment from a UK source for her performances in the UK, it wouldn’t be open to her to enter the UK as a standard visitor.

Permitted Paid Engagement visitor

The only way a visitor can receive payment for work undertaken in the UK is if they are undertaking a Permitted Paid Engagement for a period of up to 30 days. Immigration Rules recognise that professional musicians coming to the UK to carry out an activity directly relating to their profession can amount to a Permitted Paid Engagement, if the artist has been invited to come to the UK by a creative arts or entertainment organisation, an agent or a broadcaster.

Taylor’s UK tour is between 7 June to 23 June; she will then visit Ireland to perform between 28 June to 30 June, and then return to the UK between 15 August to 20 August. I’d imagine she doesn’t intend to remain in the UK after her final performance in Ireland on 30 June and her UK performances recommencing on 15 August, so the Permitted Paid Engagements limit of 30 days should be suitable for Taylor’s proposed visits to the UK.

Taylor would need to prove that her music career is her full-time profession, that her engagements were arranged before travelling to the UK, and she will need to travel with documents to show that she is an established professional artist, along with an invitation letter.

Taylor’s entourage

What about Taylor’s entourage, including her backup dancers, live band, backing vocalists, and other crucial members ensuring the smooth operation of The Eras Tour?

Taylor’s team could travel to the UK as standard visitors; they must be attending the same event as Taylor and be employed to work for her outside of the UK. They must not receive any payment from a UK source; unlike Taylor, her team cannot benefit from the Permitted Paid Engagement option.

Assuming Taylor’s team are non-visa nationals, just like Taylor, leave to enter the UK can be sought upon arrival to the UK, although it would be open to the team (and Taylor) to apply for entry clearance before travelling to the UK.

Temporary Work: Creative Worker

There is one final option for Taylor and her crew; they could benefit from the Temporary Work: Creative Worker category of the Immigration Rules. Once again, if they are all non-visa nationals, they could seek leave to enter upon arrival to the UK as Creative Workers.

To secure permission to enter as creative workers, Taylor and her entourage would need to hold a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by a UK-based sponsor. If applying for leave to enter at the border, the length of engagements would need to be less than 3 months, and there cannot be more than 14 days between each individual engagement. Due to the gap in UK performances between 23 June and 15 August, each individual would need to hold two CoS to cover the two periods of engagement. The sponsor would need to declare information about Taylor’s (and her team’s) proposed UK income when assigning the CoS and must be satisfied that Taylor and her entourage can make a unique contribution to creative life in the UK. The Creative Worker category is useful for those touring the UK – and who receive payment from a UK source – for a period exceeding 30 days.

What if Taylor decides to make the UK her permanent home?

If Taylor decides that she loves the UK and would like to relocate here permanently with Travis Kelce, this is something that she could consider. Under the UK’s Global Talent route, as Taylor has been awarded a prestigious prize (in 2015, she received a Brit Award for International Female), unsurprisingly, she is considered as being exceptionally talented and can apply for entry clearance as a Global Talent migrant. She could expect to receive a visa valid for up to 5 years, and if she can prove that she has earned money in the UK within that period, she could qualify for settlement after residing in the UK for a continuous period of 3 years.

Travis could join Taylor in the UK as her dependant, although they would need to be legally married or prove cohabitation for a period of at least two years for him to meet the definition of a partner.

UK Swifties genuinely cannot wait for you to make the ‘whole place shimmer’, Taylor.

This article is for information only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

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