Brexit Likely To Increase Paperwork For UK Productions Shooting In EU

Andreas Wiseman
·3 min read

It seems an obvious point, but it’s worth clarifying that Brexit will likely increase bureaucracy for UK film and TV productions shooting in the EU.

Uncertainty remains over the nature of the future relationship between the UK and EU given that the two parties have yet to agree a ‘Brexit deal’. The deadline for that deal is December 31 after which point UK citizens will no longer have freedom to work on the continent as before.

Confusion has permeated most businesses, including the film and TV sectors.

A number of UK producers we have spoken to in recent weeks were unsure as to whether visas will be required for their UK actors on EU shoots next year, for example.

We reached out to the British Film Institute for some clarity. Here’s what a spokesperson told us:

First key point is that many EU Member States operate a system using not only visas, but also work permits designed to regulate employment.

There are different rules for travelling to the EU to do filming for a UK-based production, or travelling to enter into employment on a production based in the EU.

Whether or not both parties agree a Free Trade Agreement, the EU agreed last year that UK nationals will be able to travel visa-free to the Schengen Area for short-term visits (up to 90 days in 180) for tourism and a limited number of business activities. Member States also allow additional permitted activities that do not require a visa as part of their domestic immigration regimes for short-term visits. Those travelling for more than 90 days will be required to apply for a visa.

In terms of work permits, each Member State has a list of permitted activities that can be undertaken by business visitors, and therefore do not require work permits. Further activities are possible and are subject to ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU. In a deal scenario, for example, it is likely that fewer business activities will be subject to work permit requirements, compared to a non-negotiated outcome. Businesses will also have greater certainty about which activities they can and cannot perform without a visa.

In Hungary, for example, you don’t need a work permit if you’re going to shoot for a production based in another country. And if you’re considered a non-visa national, you don’t need a visa either if you’re going to be there for less than 90 days. Here’s the link that explains it.

We have to wait for the outcome of negotiations before we have a full picture. Additionally, every country has a different system in place, so the processes involved will vary country by country.”

UK producers’ association PACT added: “There are ongoing discussions around requirements for the creative sector but those also hinge on whether we have a deal or not. If there is no deal, each individual country will have their own visa requirements for incoming UK crew.”

So there you have it. Producers will need to wait a little longer to know exactly what will be required of them for EU shoots next year but it’s safe to say that layers will be added to their workload. Some crew will require visas and/or work permits, others possibly not. Producers will need to do more local research, at a minimum.

Covid will present another set of challenges for producers looking to shoot on the continent with individual countries also having their own Covid rules for incoming shoots.

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