Step by step, our guide will lead you to all the important information you might need for your international work.

Here we go!

The Guide


Entry rules to the UK

When entering the UK, the first thing to clarify is, depending on the reason for your trip, which is the correct "entry route" or with which status you are entering the UK. It already plays a role here whether you belong to the group of "visa-nationals", i.e. whether your nationality requires you to apply for a visa, or whether you can enter as a "non-visa national". For most countries, "non-visa national" applies. A list of visa-nationals can be found here.

When you arrive in the UK, there are different ways to register your entry: either automated and electronically via the ePassport gates (passport with ePassport function is required!) or directly with an officer. The automated ePassport control is intended for all entries that are not subject to a specific regulation, such as tourist entries. In principle, EU citizens still do not need a visa for visits and business trips of up to six months, which would have to be applied for separately in advance. Therefore, the ePassport control would be the usual entry route for this purpose. However, as soon as you want to enter under certain conditions or for certain financially motivated business reasons, you have to report the entry to a border official. In the case of artists, certain conditions include, above all, paid performances or other fees for services. When selling goods, such as merchandise or works of art, it is also necessary to check which "entry route" or status is to be chosen and which further customs formalities are to be observed.

For detailed information on entry requirements, we recommend the VISA Guide from our partner Arts Infopoint UK. You can find the visa guide here.

Note: A passport is always required for entry into the UK. Identity cards are not accepted for entry!


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Transports of works of art, merchandise, etc. from Germany for sale in the UK

Export from Germany

The export of works of art, merchandise, etc. from Germany for sale, i.e. for commercial purposes, must be declared to the German customs authorities. From a customs law perspective, such exports can be roughly divided into three categories based on the value of the goods to be exported.

Value of the goods to be exported up to 1,000 euros
For exports up to a value of 1,000 euros (or up to a weight of 1,000 kg), the customs authorities only require an oral export declaration at the customs office of exit. If the goods are carried in baggage, the declaration is given at the customs office in the airport terminal or port, while for parcel or freight shipments the carrier makes the declaration at the point of exit.
It is advisable to carry a list of the works/goods and a statement of their value (customs declaration, pro forma invoice, etc.).
No electronic export declaration is required.

Value of the goods to be exported between 1,000 euros and 3,000 euros
If the value of the goods is between 1,000 and 3,000 euros, the single-stage export procedure must be used. This procedure requires an electronic customs declaration, which must be sent to the customs office of exit (i.e. the last customs office before the goods leave the EU – usually an airport or port).
The declaration must be made before the start of the journey, but can be made at short notice or even on the day of travel itself. For example, there are freight forwarders at almost all airports who can initiate a single-stage export "on the fly". You can research this option online. Of course, you must allow sufficient time for this process. You can also contact a freight forwarder, customs agent etc. before the trip to complete the export declaration. It may be worth comparing different offers to get the best price!
The goods must then be presented physically at the customs office of exit at the port/airport so that the procedure can be completed. Allow time and organise the packing so that the items can be shown! Once the goods have been presented and checked, they are released for customs clearance and can be exported.

Value of the goods to be exported over 3,000 euros
If the value of the goods exceeds 3,000 euros, the two-stage export procedure must be followed. This process is initiated at the customs office of export of the goods. In practice, this means that the sender must physically present the goods to the customs office at their place of residence or registered office and have an electronic export declaration completed.

  • This can be done on a walk-in basis; it is usually not necessary to make an appointment – customs: office search.
  • Alternatively, the goods can be presented to customs outside the customs office at a location specified by the sender (studio, apartment, gallery, warehouse). This service is available upon request and subject to appointment and a fee appointment – customs: office search.

After verifying that the invoice matches the goods, the customs office of export issues an export accompanying document (EAD) to initiate the procedure.
The EAD is to be regarded as a document that accompanies the goods. It must be presented to the customs office of exit (i.e. the last customs office before the goods leave the EU – usually an airport or port) together with the goods and the invoice. The customs office of exit then verifies that the goods on the EAD match the goods for export and issues the export notice. Allow time and organise the packing so that the items can be shown! The goods are now deemed to have been exported from the Union and the export procedure is completed.

EORI number
Artists and culture professionals who import or export works of art, merchandise, etc. as part of their business activities – as entrepreneurs – and are making a customs declaration for this purpose require an EORI number. The EORI number (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification Number) is used for identification purposes when communicating with customs authorities.
In Germany, the General Customs Directorate issues the EORI number free of charge. Information can be found on the customs authority website (in German).

Assistance from companies/customs agents specialising in customs services
When exporting or taking goods out of the EU, artists have limited options for doing so without assistance. Clearance can be carried out at the customs office of exit by means of an oral declaration with presentation of a commercial invoice for goods valued at up to 1,000 euros only. From a value of 1,000 euros and up, an electronic declaration is required. In theory, anyone can complete the export declaration online (via this online portal: Internet Export Declaration Plus), but this is not always recommended for users without a certain level of background knowledge.

Sending goods by courier or parcel service
When using a courier service to send merchandise or works of art, etc., it is important to note that while couriers can be relied on to handle the transport, they do not always offer an export declaration for goods with a value of over 1,000 euros. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the customer (sender) to take care of the necessary export formalities. It is common for exports to be returned due to missing or incomplete export documents.
Therefore, it is recommended to have a customs agent or freight forwarder handle the export declaration. The export documents are then enclosed with the shipment or handed over to the shipping service. The handover of the accompanying document for the export should be acknowledged in writing and reference should be made to the export when placing the order.

In general, only the following goods may be exported from Germany or the EU, regardless of value, weight or quantity:

  • goods that are not subject to any trade policy measures under foreign trade law (e.g. export authorization requirement) or market regulation law (e.g. license requirement),
  • goods whose export does not conflict with any prohibitions (e.g. species protection), and
  • goods for which the destination country is not subject to any embargoes.

Import to the UK

National regulations apply to the import of merchandise, works of art etc. to the UK.

The British government provides extensive information on these regulations on the Internet:

  • Import goods into the UK: step by stepLink
  • Bringing commercial goods into Great Britain in your baggageLink
  • ImportingLink

Information is also available from Arts Infopoint UK: Transporting your work
If you have any questions you can also contact Arts Infopoint UK – Contact.

General information

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In this German-language video, you'll find a general introduction on mobility issues for touring musicians and bands based in Germany who intend to travel to the UK. 

Arts Infopoint UK

Contact Arts Infopoint UK for questions related to visits to the United Kingdom