touring artists Newsletter summe

touring artists Newsletter summer 2017

Dear artists and colleagues,

You receive the fourth touring artists newsletter. This issue is dedicated to information on visa, to questions on entry and residence that often arise when working beyond borders.

Particularly artists and cultural professionals in countries of the so-called Global South are facing difficulties when applying for a visa, or when entering or staying in the Schengen Area. But even if visa facilitation agreements have been negotiated with the European Union or if visa requirements have been lifted, third country nationals are often facing uncertainties – especially when an artist decides to stay and work in Germany longer than originally planned.
We would like to encourage you to share your experiences and questions with us and your colleagues – in the touring artists forum, via email to or through the touring artists helpdesk service (

Additionally, we keep you informed on further news related to international mobility: open calls, current changes in German law, events and announcements. And we also share touring artists' own news.

At a glance

Beyond our summer focus:

The newsletter is also available via the following links: (German) and (English)

The touring artists editorial team wishes you an inspiring reading!



Birgit Ellinghaus, alba KULTUR – International Office for Global Music

You have a lot of experience in visa applications and the issuance of visas. Could you give us an example that discribes the biggest difficulties for artists from countries of the so called Global South who would like to enter the Schengen Area to work in Germany/the Schengen Area temporarily?

Birgit Ellinghaus: Difficulties in the visa application for artists from the Global South (and in general) are due to the agreeable fact, that the cultural sector within the EU grew a lot closer. There are bilateral cooperations implementing projects and also a lot of European consortia with partners from different European countries. Projects are organised at different places at the same time or in timely proximity. Moreover, artists are represented or partly employed by agents of one EU country for performances in other EU countries.
Visa for the performing artists are in each case issued by a national diplomatic representation, assisted by commissioned Visa Service Centres regarding the preliminary review of the application. The staff of the Visa Service Centres is often instructed to accept invitations and documents only of the country that provides the service. Invitation documents are quite often not accepted, e.g. in case they are provided by an inviting institution in Germany, which is responsible for a project in Italy or France. The Service Centre might than insist on the provision of documents from Italy or France in the respective national language. The knowledge regarding structures and non-institutional organisations in the cultural sector in other European countries of the Visa Service Centres and the embassies needs to be improved. This becomes even more important, since the EU is supporting European cooperation within the culture and creative industry and therefore more and more European projects emerge that include artists from all over the world.

Example: A music ensemble in Turkey that regularly travels to the EU to give concerts is invited by an organisation office in Germany to give a concert in Italy. The German organisation office provides all necessary documents in English for the artists. State of entry to the EU is Italy, thus, visas need to be issued by the Italian consulate general. The Visa Service Centre of the Italian consulate general insists on providing documents submitted by an Italian organiser in Italian. Only after submission of the Italian documents visas are issues.

Artist visa, touring visa, … – every now and then the European political bodies put these or similar initiatives on their agenda. How realistic would you evaluate the implementation of such ideas?

Birgit Ellinghaus: In the current political situation it seems reasonable to me to preserve the status quo with applying the Visa Code 2009. Each change of the Schengen regulations at European level would most probably lead to more restrictions and more complicated procedures, resulting from the current debates on escape, exile, and stronger border control.

How can cultural organisations or artists‘ networks put pressure on the governments – in the EU and worldwide? Are there initiatives from within the sector at the moment, which are worth supporting, such as the White Paper by Tamizdat?

Birgit Ellinghaus: A change of worldwide diplomatic regulations is one of the hardest tasks. Cultural organisations and artists‘ networks – despite the great number of artists working internationally – are representing only a minority of people affected who need visa for their professional practice or the organisation of cultural exchange. Therefore, speaking about political pressure, the influence of cultural organisations or artists‘ networks is limited. It would be more important to focus on the economic role of the art and culture sector. Previous discussions about free trade have rather disadvantaged the art and culture sector than focussing on its special protection and its support, in order to strengthen social innovation and international exchange. A good approach will certainly be the discussion in Germany initiated by the German UNESCO Commission in the scope of the Action Plan 2017 to 2020, that made the sensitisation of politicians and stakeholders concerning questions of artists‘ mobility in all dimensions a priority.

Learning from “good practice“ e.g. in the US regarding the question of visa for artists would be a good option for a united Europe as well. The cooperation of advice and service offices in the US that join forces with human rights organisations to intervene the national legal and constitutional discussion on visa/entry requirements, work permit and artists‘ mobility, might provide new impulses also for Europe. Following the „Muslim Ban“ organisations like Tamizdat and others became strong advocates also for artists.

Birgit Ellinghaus has a long record of work in culture and music with artists from all over the world. Since 1989 she has been director of the arts management agency alba KULTUR. She is a music publisher and producer and has released a variety of CDs on her own world music label 'Heaven and Earth'. She is coordinating the network Klangkosmos NRW – the network of global music in the Rhine-Ruhr region in Germany and is curator of several world music series a.o. the series “Weltmusik im Mozartsaal“ at the Frankfurt Old Opera House.
As an advisor and expert she is working internationally and serves as jury member e.g. of the World Music Expo WOMEX 2014 and of the European Festival Label Award EFFE (2015 and 2017).
For many years she has been engaged with working conditions of artists worldwide, particularly focussing on questions of entry and residence.


Abolition of EU visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens
Starting from June 11, 2017 Ukrainian citizens are exempted from EU short-stay visa requirements.
Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport are now able to enter the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, familiy or business purposes. This does not entail any work permit! The visa exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Information is available from the German embassy in Kiev here.

US visa application: No glasses, please!
Since November 1, 2016 applicants for a US visa are no longer allowed to wear glasses on the photograph. Information is provided at the webpage of the US embassy here.

China changes its visa system for foreign employees
Starting from April 1, 2017 the Foreigner’s Work Permit (FWP) pools the previous visa types – the Alien Employment Permit (Z visa) and the Foreign Expert Permit (R visa) – and divides foreign employees into three categories through a scoring system. The new regulation aims at facilitating the visa application. More information is available here and by the Techniker Krankenkasse here (in German).

Croatia is part of the Schengen Information System
Since June 27, 2017 Croatia is connected with the Schengen Information System (SIS) that a. o. supports control of the Schengen Area border. Therefore, for example, long waiting times at the border between Croatia and Slovenia will be reduced, since both states are now part of the SIS. More information here.

Visa application for employees
Quite often applicants of a business visa need to submit an assignment certificate from their employer. The Techniker Krankenkasse collected tips for such a certificate, which is available here (in German).


Evaluation of the EU acquis on legal migration - public consultation
The European Commission is evaluating the existing EU legislation on legal migration, which covers the entry, stay and residency rules for non-EU citizens coming to the EU to study, work or join their families. Possible gaps and inconsistencies in the current legislation will be identified; the contribution to an effective management of migration flows will be examined; and possible ways for simplification will be discussed. The consultation (available in all EU languages) is addressed to the broadest public possible, both inside and outside the EU. The deadline is September 18, 2017.
More information here.




Visa for artists – does that exist in Germany?
In general the following applies: For a long-term stay/work stay in Germany citizens from third countries need a national visa (D visa). Applicants therefore need to contact the embassy or the general consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in their home country - or the country of residence - in advance (nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the United States are subject to an exception: they may obtain the residence title at the competent immigration authority in Germany after entry). Additionally, the D visa generally needs to be approved by the relevant foreigner registration office (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany which means the registration office at the place, where the applicant is going to reside. There is no special regulation for artists in this respect!
In Berlin, where art and culture play an important role, a pro-artist interpretation of the Residence Act exists (§ 21 Abs. 5 AufenthG). This is stated within the Verfahrenshinweisen der Ausländerbehörde Berlin: „When it comes to artists‘ stays, one must assume a general economic interest for the ‚art and film capital Berlin‘, since it will have a positive impact for the economy. Thus, judgements should be generally exercised for the benefit of the foreigner. This holds true for visual artists, freelance musicians, actors, directors etc. Not only renowned, but also for particularly creative artists a stay should be enabled (within the scope of § 21 Abs. 5 AufenthG)." (Own translation!) This interpretation might facilitate the issue of a residence or work permit for artists.
Please note: Artists, having a work permit for Germany, need to be aware of the fact, that it is not valid for every activity, but only for the one stated in the application – which can only be a clearly defined freelance work or employed work.

What is a residence title?
Residence title: Term used in the German Residence Act (AufenthG). Citizens from non-EU countries generally require a residence title (or permit) to enter and stay in Germany. The German Residence Act is based on European regulations (EU Visa Code, among others) and distinguishes between residence permit, EU Blue Card, and visa for temporary stays as well as between settlement permit and permanent residence permit (EC) for permanent stays.
The different terms are explained in the touring artists glossary. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees provides a useful overview here.

C visa, D visa & visa-free entry, EU Visa Code & Schengen
If a visa d what kind of visa is required for a stay in Germany, what kind of visa category is valid for which period of time and for which European countries, is explained by touring artists here.
Here, two aspects should be pointed out that often cause trouble, when regulations were not followed in time or when information beforehand is missing:

  • Citizens of third countries staying in Germany and holding a C visa are not allowed to apply for residence permit on-site in Germany. Therefore an application for a D visa (national visa) is necessary before the entry.
    Exemption I: nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the United States may obtain a D visa also at the competent immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany after entry.
    Exemption II: nationals of the following countries may apply for a residence permit on-site in Germany, as long as no gainful employment is taken up: Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino.

  • Artists holding a residence or work permit for the Schengen Area need to be aware of the fact that the premit is not valid for stays in the United Kingdom or Ireland! Both countries are not part of the Schengen Agreement and therefore national regulations regarding residence and work permit apply.

  • An overview of the Schengen Agreement regulations with further special and country specific regulations is provided by the Federal Foreign Office here.

Please note: Application forms for the so-called Schengen visa (C Visa) and for the national visa (D visa) are available on the webpage of the Federal Foreign Office here.

Visa for Germany – FAQ
The questions and answers section of the Federal Foreign Office webpage concerning visa requirements, visa applications and immigration to Germany etc. provides useful assistance.

Guide for artists on entry and work permit for the US
Artists from Abroad, an online guide published by the League of American Orchestras and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, provides information on the US Immigration Act as well as on visa categories and respective procedures. A rich information source for artists, who are going to work in the US! The guide is available here.

Tamizdat: White Paper on Artist Mobility to the United States
Tamizdat, a non-profit organisation, supports the international cultural exchange and helps international performing artists address problems presented by US immigration policy and procedure. The organisation provides legal assistance with visa problems (TamizdatAVAIL), collects data on visa questions, publishes studies and leads a coalition of international arts organisations (Artist Mobility Advocacy Coalition - AMAC), committed to improve the US artist visa process. Tamizdat recently published a first draft of the ‘White Paper on Artist Mobility to the United States‘. The White Paper can be downloaded here.

Artists Visas Committee in France
The Artists Visas Committee, an initiative by ZONE FRANCHE, was implemented in 2009 to respond to the growing difficulties professionals of the music industry were facing to obtain visas. Today, the Artists Visas Committee is a network of artists, producers, touring agents, pogrammers, labels, festivals, theatres and local authorities. The initiative offers support regarding visa problems and intervenes with authorities and ministries to improve procedures related to the issuing of visa. More information on the website of ZONE FRANCHE. 

Berliner Integrationsbeauftragter (integration commissioner in Berlin) – advice and further education
The Commissioner of the Berlin Senat for Integration and Migration offers a weekly advice service on questions concerning entry to Germany, residence, employment, asylum procedures etc. Furthermore, further training related to immigration law and immigration counseling is provided free of charge. The training addresses employees of non-governmental information offices and voluntary advisers. More information here.

ICORN: Safe havens for writers and artists at risk
ICORN, the International Cities of Refuge Network, is an independent organisation of cities and regions offering long term, but temporary shelter to writers and artists at risk. Writers or artists (defined as photographers, cartoonists, painters, performers, new media artists, musicians etc.) who are threatened or persecuted for expressing their opinions or ideas through their professional work, are invited to apply for an ICORN residency. Find all information online


touring artists welcomes the Czech Arts and Theatre Institute
On the Move, the Cultural Mobility Information Network, this year facilitates staff exchanges among its members. The touring artists team – IGBK and ITI Germany – was happy to welcome Barbora Doležalová from the Czech Arts and Theatre Institute on May 30, 2017 for a day full of exchange, questions & answers on the issue how to set up a cultural mobility information portal. The Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague is about to launch an information tool for artists and cultural professionals working internationally, starting from or coming to the Czech Republic. The tool will be online most likely at the beginning of next year. We wish them every success!

On the Move and ARS BALTICA - Baltic Sea Region Cultural Mobility Funding Guide
OTM in partnership with ARS BALTICA edited the Baltic Sea Region Cultural Mobility Funding Guide. It covers funding schemes of eleven countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Germany, Poland, and the Russian Federation and was updated with the support of OTM's members ITI Germany (and the website and the Russian Theatre Union and with the contribution of the National Centre for Culture - Poland and EUNIA. Find the overall guide and the eleven country-focused guides at OTM’s webpage here.

International Meeting of Independent Dance Producers in Budapest
On June 2 and 3, 2017 the International Meeting of Independent Dance Producers took place in Budapest, organised by the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (the umbrella organisation for dance in Germany) in cooperation with Bakelit Multi Art Center. touring artists was invited to present its information tool and to inform about other information resources and initiatives, including the network On the Move. About 40 participants from ten European countries joined the meeting.

Austria: New Information portal for artists working internationally
SMartAt Mobility is a new information portal for artists working internationally – launched by SMart Austria on May 8, 2017. It targets artists and creatives living and working in Austria as well as abroad. It also addresses artists and cultural professionals abroad coming to Austria for temporary stays or to live there. touring artists joined the launch and is looking forward to pursue the dialogue on cultural mobility issues with the Austrian colleagues.




New Social Security Agreement between Germany and India
India and Germany have ratified a new Social Security Agreement, which came into force in May this year. Regarding temporary stays in the other country, new conditions apply for employees when being posted, first of all concerning the pension insurance. More information here.

End of roaming charges in the EU
Using the telephone, the internet or sending short messages abroad: Starting from June 15, 2017 this is possible without additional costs. The European Parliament abolished roaming charges in the EU. More information here.



Probably starting from January 2018, Tunisia will join the EU programme CREATIVE EUROPE. Actors from the cultural and audiovisual sector in Tunisia will then be able to take part in the CULTURE sub-programme or the MEDIA sub-programme. The agreement has yet to be ratified by the Tunisian parliament. More information here.

Brexit: A1 forms initially apply only until withdrawal from the EU
Britain’s planned withdrawal from the EU is casting shadows: When it comes to posting, some health insurances in Germany provide A1 forms for Great Britain initially only until the end of March 2019. More information here.

Mobility in Culture – proposal at the meeting of the EU Culture Ministers
The Italian delegation – supported by France and Germany – submitted a proposal for an initiative ‚Mobility in Culture‘ at the meeting of the EU Culture Ministers in May 2017, which aims at fostering the mobility of artists and cultural professionals in Europe. touring artists will keep an eye on it. The report of the meeting is available here, the proposal here.

Artists‘ Social Security Fund – reduced employers contribution in 2018
The employers contribution will again be reduced from 4.8 percent this year to 4.2 percent in the coming year. This has been fixed within the draft Künstlersozialabgabe-Verordnung 2018 (in German) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Use of drones
The use of drones becomes more popular also within art projects. It is worth noticing that using drones is mostly excluded from professional liability insurances. Artists who use drones are advised to arrange for an extra insurance, in Germany the so-called ‚air traffic liability insurance‘, to be covered in case of damage. Shortly, touring artists provides more information here.



Roberto Cimetta Fund | Valletta 2018: Mobility Funding
Travel grants for artists of the Euro-Arab region.
Extended deadline: July 15, 2017 – information

kooshk residency: EU-Iran Exchange Program – Open Call for Iranian Artists
For artists from Iran.
Deadline: July 15, 2017 – information

Tate/Delfina Foundation: Brooks International Fellowship Programme 2018 (United Kingdom)
For curators, researchers, art historians, and other museum professionals.
Deadline: July 16, 2017 – information

EMARE-Residency 2017 (The Netherlands, France, United Kingdom or Germany)
For media artists in digital media, film and performance.
Deadline: July 20, 2017 – information

Machol Shalem Dance House: Jerusalem International Choreography Competition 2017 (December 1 and 2, 2017, Israel)
For choreographers.
Deadline: July 30, 2017 – information

Schloss Bröllin: Production Grants 2018 (Germany)
For professional artists and groups from Germany and abroad to produce dance, theatre and performance projects.
Deadline: July 31, 2017 – information

International Association for Performing Arts and Research IAPAR / ITI India: IAPAR International Theatre Festival 2017 (November 2017, India)
For theatre professionals from all parts of the world.
Deadline: July 31, 2017 – information

Creative Climate Leadership training course (October 8 to 14, 2017, Slovenia)
For artists and cultural professionals.
Deadline: July 31, 2017 – information

K3 – Zentrum für Choreographie | Tanzplan Hamburg: Residency Programme 2018/2019
For international choreographers at the beginning of their professional careers.
Deadline: August 14, 2017 – information

Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen ifa: Exhibition Funding 2018
For German artists or artists with residence in Germany.
Deadline: August 15, 2017 – information

Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen ifa: Artists‘ Contacts 2018
For artists, curators, art educators, and art theoreticians from developing and emerging countries and from Germany (or applicants who have been living in Germany for at least five years).
Deadline: August 15, 2017 – information

ZARYA Center for Contemporary Art: Artist-in-Residence Program (November to December 2017, Russia)
For individual artists or teams, working with painting, sculpture, graphics, photo and video, installation, performance, choreography, theatre, music and street art.
Deadline: August 31, 2017 – information

aerowaves dance across europe: Aerowaves Twenty
For choreographers at the beginning of their careers.
Deadline: September 12, 2017 – information

Kunststiftung NRW/Pina Bausch Foundation: Pina Bausch Fellowship for Dance and Choreography 2018
For dancers and choreographers.
Deadline: September 15, 2017 – information

Mobility First! ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative
Travel grants for Asian and European artists and cultural organisations travelling between Asia and Europe.
Next deadline: September 15, 2017 – information

Europa Nostra Awards 2018
For cooperation projects including several European countries.
Deadline: October 1, 2017 – information

Otto’s Abodev: Residency Gateway to the Wilderness (US)
For artists interested in questions of geological, ecological, and political identity.
Ongoing application – information


IGBK celebrates its 60th anniversary!
IGBK was founded in 1957 as the German National Committee of the International Association of Art (IAA). In 1972 the BBK, Deutscher Künstlerbund and GEDOK united in the IGBK for their international actions, which today represents more than 14,000 visual artists in Germany.
IGBK is engaged with several European organisations and networks such as On the Move or Culture Action Europe and currently acts as the office of IAA Europe. It councils visual artists regarding questions on their international practice through information provision and the IAA Professional Identity Card. It organises symposia and workshops on working conditions of visual artists in Germany and Europe.
The anniversary evening on June 23, 2017 at the premises of the Deutscher Künstlerbund saw curator Necmi Sönmez presenting in his lecture ‘Shall all Turkish artists emigrate?’ a critical assessment of the art scene in Turkey after the referendum.

Arts Rights Justice Conference
The Arts Rights Justice CONFERENCE takes place from August 30 to September 1, 2017 in Hildesheim (Germany), following the ARJ ACADEMY. About 120 participants are expected: representatives of funding and network institutions, experts in areas relating to art, culture and human rights, as well as participants of the ARJ ACADEMY. More information is available here.

»Fragile Affinities - (Re)strengthening international artistic collaboration«
It has been the guiding idea of the IGBK since its beginning to foster international collaboration amongst visual artists. Today political trends are opposing this objective, also in Europe. Against the background of nationalist and anti-European movements in many countries, artists too are becoming growingly restricted in their rights to freedom and excluded from international exchange.
»Fragile Affinities« will debate the ways in which artists preserve and shape necessary spaces for their activities in times of decreasing social cohesion within Europe and will address the challenges the arts must face in periods of widespread political upheaval. How can international artistic collaboration be strengthened and opportunities for exchange and communication be promoted?
The symposium takes place on November 23 and 24, 2017, in cooperation with Akademie der Künste Berlin. More information at IGBK’s webpage coming soon.

Res Artis Meeting ‘Prepare for Production: On Residencies and Artistic Production‘
The Res Artis meeting will discuss the challenge to offer artists adequate working conditions and useful infrastructures. It is organised by the Danish Art Workshops (DAW) and FABRIKKEN / The Factory of Art and Design and takes place in Copenhagen from October 25 to 27, 2017.
More information here. To register, follow this link.

Further Education
Berlin Summer University of the Arts 2017
From June to October the Berlin Summer University of the Arts offers more than 30 workshops in different areas: visual art, music, design and performance as well as arts management, creative entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary formats in English language. More information here.

Social Security and Mobility of Visual Artists in Europe – workshop report
In November 2016 IGBK and IAA Europe cooperated on an international workshop on social security and artists' mobility in Europe. What are the obstacles faced by artists working internationally within Europe today with regard to social security insurance issues? To what extent have the information systems for freelance artists in Europe improved over the last years? Find an extensive report on the workshop online here.

The touring artists helpdesk service provides individual consultations in Berlin or via telephone and email ( on international projects and working stays abroad – free of charge. The service is a cooperation of ITI and IGBK with SMartDe – Netzwerk für Kreative e.V.


The next touring artists newsletter will be sent out in autumn 2017, focusing on the issue insurances. We will be happy about tips, experiences and questions concerning this topic. Just send an email to


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touring artists editorial team, email:

touring artists is a project of the Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK) and the German Centre of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), initiated and supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).

Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK)
Mohrenstraße 63, D - 10117 Berlin,

German Centre of the International Theatre Institute (ITI)
Kunstquartier Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, D - 10997 Berlin,