Changes to the Immigration Rules for Permit Free Festivals

The list of permit free festivals is set out in Appendix 5 to Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. Festivals and events which are included on this list are able to invite entertainers or artists to take part in their event without the need to issue a certificate of sponsorship under the points based system.

Where entertainers or artists are established professionals it may also be possible for them to use the visitors undertaking the permitted paid engagement route.

Festivals not currently listed in Appendix 5 to Appendix V of the Immigration Rules must send their applications for inclusion by 5 January 2018 if the festival is scheduled to start between 7 April 2018 and 6 April 2019. All festivals and events seeking to be included within the list must:

  • have been established for at least 3 years
  • have had an audience of at least 15,000 for each of the last 3 years
  • have an expected audience of at least 15,000 throughout the event
  • have at least 15 non-European Economic Area (EEA) performers who have performed for each of the last 3 years
  • have at least 15 non-EEA performers who have been invited for the current year

Permit Free Festivals are events that are assessed as contributing to the cultural heritage of the UK and at which performers can, exceptionally, be paid for their participation as visitors. Visitors cannot normally receive payment from a UK source for any permitted activities they undertake here.

The list has recently been updated for 2018/2019 and the permit free festivals for this period are as follows:

(a) Aberdeen International Youth Festival

(b) Alchemy (Southbank Centre)

(c) Aldeburgh Festival

(d) Barbican Festivals (Only Connect - Sound Unbound, Summer Festival, Autumn 1 – Transcender, Autumn 2 – Jazz at Lincoln Center Residency)

(e) Belfast International Arts Festival

(f) Bestival

(g) Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance

(h) Boomtown Fair

(i) Breakin’ Convention

(j) Brighton Festival

(k) Brighton Fringe

(l) Brouhaha International Street Festival

(m) Cambridge Folk Festival

(n) Camp Bestival

(o) Celtic Connections

(p) Cheltenham Festivals (Jazz/Science/ Music/Literature)

(q) Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival

(r) Dance Umbrella

(s) Download

(t) Edinburgh Festival Fringe