Entry to the UK and visas
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has a long tradition of welcoming international companies.
If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to gain entry clearance or a visa before coming to the UK. You must have the correct documentation and permissions to come to the UK. The Fringe Society can help with this by issuing a welcome letter to all overseas participants and legitimate entourage connected with a registered show.
The following visa information kit contains eligibility advice and guidance on what to do and when.
The Fringe Society are unable to act as immigration advisors, but aim to answer any questions you might have as best we can so please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read the UK Home Office guidance on Visas and Immigration rules to entering the UK.
Full immigration information can be found on the UK Home Office website.
Foreign entertainer’s tax
If there are members of your company who are not resident in the UK for tax purposes, then you may be liable to pay Foreign Entertainers Tax. Those who have calculated that their expected income will definitely be less than £11,000 will not be required to file an FEU8 form.
To see how much tax, if any, you will pay, you need to submit a FEU8 (Reduced Tax Application) form to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).
If you send a reduced tax application to HMRC, it is likely that, depending on your income and business expenditure, your taxes will be reduced. Generally only a handful of shows have to pay FEU tax.
Step by step
- Download the FEU 8 form from HMRC, complete the form and send by post or fax directly to HMRC fax number indicated on the application form.
- HMRC will send you notification detailing what tax you have to pay, if any.
- HMRC will send an FEU 4 notice detailing the amount of tax, if any, to be withheld to your venue and, where necessary the Fringe Society.
Tips for completing the FEU 8 Form
- You will need to include your estimated income - as a guide we suggest that this is one third of your possible ticket sales revenue.
- When declaring the date you will receive payment, remember that the Fringe Society will forward your box office settlement by 30 September but your venue may pay you at a later date.
- You must also include your estimated expenditure - a calculation of venue hire costs, Fringe Society registration fee, marketing and publicity costs, travel costs, accommodation costs, and daily food, living costs and any other expenses relevant to the performances.
- Remember to include your venue contract when you submit your FEU8 form.
This amount does not refer to your profit after expenses, but solely to the total amount of your box office receipts and any other income received in the UK.
- If estimated income is lower than £11,000
Those who have calculated that their expected income will definitely be less than £11,000 will not be required to file an FEU8 form.
- If estimated income is close to or higher than £11,000
- Fill out and return the FEU8 form to HMRC.
- If your income is over £11,000, we will make a check against the information you submitted in your Show Registration Form and the notifications we’ve had from the HMRC.
- If this paperwork has not been processed, the Fringe Society and the venue are legally required to withhold the Box Office takings until the tax has been calculated. Claims for repayment of tax withheld must be made directly to HMRC.
It is your responsibility to send the application to HMRC and we recommend that you do so by mid-July. Applications sent after 31 August may be refused.
If you have any queries please contact HMRC directly.
HMRC Personal Tax International
Foreign Entertainers Unit, SO708
PO Box 203
Telephone +44 (0)3000 547 395
Fax +44 (0)3000 547 383
Our glossaries can help to make sense of Fringe terminology that you may not have encountered before. The handbooks are available in the following languages:
- English - The Fringe language key
- French - Fringe touche de langue pour les locuteurs de français
- German - Begriffserklärungen rund um das Fringe-Geschehen: Deutsch
- Italian - Legenda della terminologia del Fringe in lingua italiana
- Mandarin - 爱丁堡边缘艺术节[中文]演讲者重要术语释义
- Portuguese - Fringe – Termos chave para falantes de Português
- Spanish - Glosario del Fringe para hispanoparlantes
If you are bringing equipment, props, set or costume with you, see below on tips for ensuring a smooth process.
Transporting in your luggage
If you are planning to transport everything in your luggage, familiarise yourself with your airline’s baggage policies regarding personal allowances, excess baggage fees and restrictions.
Using a courier service
- Make certain that the necessary arrangements will be made to get your goods through customs
- Clearly indicate that your goods are not being transported for commercial purposes.
- You may also require an ATA carnet for your equipment. This acts like a passport for your equipment so that it can be efficiently cleared through customs on each journey. Application forms can be obtained from your local chamber of commerce.
- Visit the UK Government website for import and export information
Details of shipping and freight companies can be found in our Service Directory.