Legal frames

Artists and creatives who are not EU citizens as defined in Article 20 of the TFEU need a valid residence title for entering and staying in Germany. The conditions are set out in the European and national laws: 

  • EU Visa Code (Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas), in force since 5 April 2010  
  • Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985
  • Regulation (EC) No. 562/2006 of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code)  
  • Law on the Residence, Economic Activity and Integration of Foreigners in the Federal Territory (Aufenthaltsgesetz; English: Residence Act), last amended on 21 January 2013 (as of: 18 February 2013)

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The EU Visa Code

In addition to the Lisbon Treaty, there are other European agreements that are relevant to the mobility of artists and creatives. The most important of these is the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 based on Article 61 of the EC Treaty on the gradual abolition of checks at the signatories’ common borders and the Schengen Borders Code with rules regarding control measure at the external borders. 

Since 5 April 2010, the Visa Code has constituted the binding legal basis for issuing short-term visas (for a maximum of 90 days) in the Schengen area for all member states of the Schengen Convention: It defines the legal requirements for issuing visas and sets guidelines regarding the implementation of visa procedures. 

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Schengen area: addenda, special provisions, and exceptions

A number of non-EU member countries have also signed the Visa Code; these are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.   

The Visa Code is further complemented by twelve Visa Facilitation Agreements (VFA) with third countries, which are in force in all signatory countries except Denmark. Some of these third countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine) are exempt from visa requirements for short-term visits up to 90 days (cf. pdf). The list of countries can be found on the website of the Foreign Office, for example:

In addition, there are a number of special limiting provisions in the Visa Code, which apply only in some signatory countries (cf. pdf).   

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland constitute exceptions. Although they are EU member states, they have not signed the Visa Code and continue to regulate their visa and residency requirements and procedures exclusively at the national level.  

Since 1 October 2012, simplified rules apply to artists in the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which still significantly differ from the Visa Code, however. It is advised to gather information early on (application procedures may take up to six months), for example on the website of the UK Border Agency for the Republic of Ireland can only be applied for online. The process is relatively straightforward. 

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