CME Artist Services

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are the commonest (and not so common) questions we get asked (for our take on Brexit please see Brexit impact on Tier 5)


What do I need to do to get a work permit? What documents do I need?

Please see our Sponsor Checklist. In most cases you should be represented by an organisation or individual in the UK working in music. This could be a promoter / purchaser / venue / festival / agent / record label / UK based member of the act / individual running an event etc. We need to also establish that you are an internationally recogised talent

How much does a CoS cost?

This depends on group size, number of groupings, length of stay, whether you're a visa national or not (see Visas) and whether you need to leave and re-enter the UK more than once during your work period

See fees for full breakdown of our costs. Our basic service rate is £100 and £25 per additional CoS. We can offer an additonal discount for regular or repeat business on a case by case basis. In addition, we do levy a £50 refundable security deposit per act (if you do not abide by UK Immigration Law as clearly explained in our sponsorship agreement you default the security deposit) and the UKVI £21 processing fee per act. We do not charge VAT

Do your fees include VAT?

No. We do not charge VAT for our services

Who is eligible for the work permits you process?

We can process Tier 5 Creative Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) specialising in the creative sector, especially music. For other areas we can assist on a case to case basis and if we deem it is out of our remit we can refer to other agencies we share referrals with

For group applications, in many cases a group will include individuals that are not themselves considered to be creative individuals (e.g. sounds and video engineers, road managers, photographers, press officers, even personal trainers, medics, hair stylists and beauticians etc) but providing they are a necessary part of the travelling party and can demonstrate their experience in their field and their connection with the group we can issue CoS for them (provided they are included in the group application). This also relates to actors and dancers that may be involved in a music act's video production for example.

How long do you take to process a CoS?

Our guaranteed turnaround (once we've agreed to sponsoring the act and have all the information we need to process the CoS) is 5 business days. We can offer a 24 hour service in some cases but expedited rates are up to double our standard rate (see Fees for rates for different turnaround times)

When can I apply for a CoS?

CoS can't be issued to non-visa nationals more than three months before work starts.* Visa applicants can be issued CoS at any time provided they make their visa application within three months of the CoS issuance. Therefore, for non-visa nationals if your work starts August 1st we can't issue you a CoS until May 1st of that year unless you obtain a visa before the CoS applies

*This is assuming a non-visa national is working in the UK for three months or less. More than three months of work in the UK requires a visa regardless of whether a visa or non-visa national

What satisfies the distinction of "internationally established"?

At time of writing this (2018) there is no Home Office published guidance as to what satisfies “international status”. Our agency has verbal communications from UKVI compliance that, as a guideline you should have at least 10,000 YouTube views and/or Soundcloud follows (similarly 10,000+ likes on a Facebook page dedicated to your act). Alternatively, strong presence on reputable Wikipedia entries, listing on Billboard and other online resources that clearly show the act is well-known beyond the country of origin will be accepted

What are my obligations to the sponsor on arrival to the UK?

1. You or your UK representation must ensure the sponsor receives copies of your passport entry stamps (passport endorsements) on arrival.

2. Any changes to the act's circumstances must be communicated to us as soon as known (show date change / cancellation / new show added / delayed arrival or departure etc)

What impact will Brexit have on Tier 5 and artists in general?

No surprise that we get asked this quite a lot especially by European promoters and musicians. In the first instance it's our opinion that, with the possible exception of the Common Travel Area (CTA - see next question below) that nothing will change.

Practially, even if there is a hard Brexit and the UK leaves the European Economic Area (EEA) it is inconceivable that the UK would require EEA nationals to obtain visas to travel to the UK and vice versa, at least for short stays (three months or less).

Equally, because none of the EEA countries (except the UK) currently enforce work permits for musicians / artists coming from non-visa national countries for less than three months (in many cases, e.g. Holland, six months) it is also unlikely (but not inconceivable considering the apparent island mentality of the current UK government at this time) that the UK would start requiring work permits for EEA musicians. To do this would exert an extra strain on an already stretched UKVI and be potentially damaging to UK musicians travelling abroad if there was a quid quo pro hardening of entry requirements by EEA countries.

Possibly, and this has been discussed in Cabinet, there might simply be a free online registration process for EEA citizens visiting the UK for three months or less, whether for tourism or temporary work. It’s possible that stays longer than three months will require some form of permit and EEA musicians might then fall into the current CoS process.

Lastly, none of this would have any obvious impact on visa nationals who still need visas to travel to any EEA countries

What will happen to the Common Travel Area after Brexit?

This is harder to answer. The short answer is simply "nobody knows".

The basic principle of the CTA is, arguably, flawed anyway. Currently, anyone entering the UK via the CTA will not go through UK passport control. This is why it's not possible to issue CoS for artists using that route to travel to the UK - their CoS won't be activated.

Practically, if the UK wants to enforce restrictions on EEA visitors entering the UK there will have to be UK passport control in all countries in the CTA (Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and Republic of Ireland). This almost certainly will happen as, arguably, a main reason for Brexit in the first place was concern about EU immigration (this is our qualified opinion, but there isn’t and never has been any evidence whatsoever that EU migration is a problem for the UK - quite the converse in fact, but welcome back to that "island mentality" again).

Lastly, there is a massive problem in Ireland with Brexit in that both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland do not want a return to a hard border between their two countries.

A departure from the EU, especially the Customs Union, would create an apparently unsolvable situation in this regard.

The solution proffered by the RI government (summer 2017) of a unique customs policy for the whole island of Ireland met with a predictable negative reaction from the NI ruling DUP bordering on name calling. This is despite NI voting overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. In our opinion, the counterproductive tribal mentality of the DUP, to which the current UK Government ruling party formed a contrived and unnatural (our view) alliance in order to have a functioning majority to rule has created a completely untenable and unworkable situation which benefits no one.

An update on this (Feb. 2018) is that sponsors have lobbied the UKVI Sponsor Policy Unit to remove the restrictions on CoS issuance for artists entering the UK via the CTA because this is a Government created problem and sponsors and arts practitioners shouldn’t be penalised because of a failure in our Government to sort the current situation out

Why can't I get sponsorship if I fly into the Republic of Ireland?

You cannot activate your CoS if you enter the UK via the CTA (Common Travel Area of which RI is part) because you will not pass through UK passport control. Therefore we cannot sponsor you if you use this route and you will have to obtain a Permitted Paid Engagement visa instead

I'm a visa national applying for Tier 5 visa online and I'm being asked to provide a payment for International Health Service (IHS). What is this and do I have to pay?

You do not have to pay IHS fee unless you plan to be a resident in the UK. Tier 5 Creative is not a residential visa and the presence of the IHS option on the application is a Home Office bug. If you have to fill in the IHS fields in order to complete the application put in a date span greater than a month. If the visa officer handling your application tells you that you need to pay IHS fee they are wrong. Have them call the migrant helpline for clarification (+44 (0)300 123 2241)

Do I need a biometric visa?

You do not need a biometric visa unless you are performing in the UK for more than six months

What if I don't give the sponsor copies of my visa stamp?

Failure to provide copies of the passport endorsement stamps will default your deposit. Failure to produce a visa stamp at all will result in no further sponsorship from CME Artist Services and a report of abuse of the Sponsorship System provided to the Home Office which can result in a five year UK entry ban

My passport expires within 6 months of my last performance. Can I still travel to the UK?

Technicaly, UK passport control can deny you entry. In practice they probably won't if you're holding a CoS but there's no guarantee they won't so get a new passport pronto

Do I need to have representation other than a sponsor?

If the sponsor is not employing you then you will need UK representation. This could be a venue, promoter, record label or booking agent (or a friend involved in your booking). Regardless, the sponsor needs to have an agreement with a respected organisation or individual in the UK (or EU) who can take on the responsibilities of managing the act and ensuring the terms of the sponsorship are kept and, if any changes to employment occur (cancelled show, additional shows within the sponsorship period for example) that these changes are communicated to the sponsor

If you refer our case to another agency do you charge a commission?

We do not charge commission on referrals. We're a firm believer of what goes around comes around. If for whatever reason we cannot handle your case (outside of our Tier 5 remit or we have too many cases to handle to deal with your and meet required turnaround time) we have an excellent referral network of highly competent sponsors with similar number of years of experience as our agency. These are sponsors who cooperate with each other on best practice and help each other out with heavy caseloads as well as policing abusers of the sponsor system. However, almost none of them will take on visa national clients

Why do you charge a security deposit?

This is to ensure we receive the documentation needed after the CoS holders have arrived into the UK. These requirements are on our standard agreement and we do not release the CoS until this agreement is dated, signed and returned to us and our fees are paid including the deposit. In addition, for first time visa nationals we may insist on at least one visit to their events so we can monitor the CoS holders in person. These travel costs will need to be met (relatively low as we wiil only ask for costs, not any service fee)

I will be touring internationally for more than three months before I enter the UK. If CoS have to be used within three months of being issued what can I do?

If you’re a non-visa national your application to us can be made at any time before you enter the UK. If you’re a visa national or touring in the UK for more than three months then you will need to make a visa application and send your passport (or in some instances make a visit in person) to the relevant UK consulate or Embassy that you are currently working in

How long does a CoS cover?

A CoS can be up to 12 months but anything over 3 months you will need to apply for a visa even if you are a non-visa national. The CoS can be renewed for up to another 12 months for a total of 24 months. Anything longer is not considered temporary and will require a different Tier.

However, you cannot have a gap of more than 14 days between consecutive periods of work even if you are on a multiple entry work permit and can demonstrate you are leaving the UK during that time.

That said, we are extremely reluctant to issue CoS for longer than a month (as this will require additional tracking responsibilities) and we absolutely will not issue CoS for more than one month for visa nationals

How big a gap is allowed between work dates?

No more than 14 days. This is regardless of whether you have a multiple entry visa and can demonstrate that you will be out of the UK during any gaps between employment of more than 14 days.

Update as of Feb. 2018: Several representations have been made to the UKVI Sponsor Policy Unit addressing the inconsistencies in application of the 14 day rule. To put this in perspective, sports CoS holders in Tier 5 can be issued multiple entry CoS when they have multiple engagements in the UK with gaps more than 14 days but those in entertainment cannot. This is clearly unfair

The work permit is a visa right?

No it is not. A visa is a physical stamp in your passport granting you entry to the country you are visiting for a specific amount of time and defining the nature of your visit.

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an agreement between you, your sponsor (e.g. CME Artist Services) and the Home Office. It allows you to work for a defined period of time under the terms of the type of CoS you have

Do I need a visa?

Anyone from outside the EEA (European Economic Area) entering the UK for longer than 3 months needs a visa (some visitors can apply for a 6 month visa waiver but not for work).

Citizens of non-visa national countries do not need a visa if visiting the UK for less than 3months.

If you're from a visa national country you will need a visa to enter the UK unless on a 72 hour transit exemption. If this is beginning to appear confusing we suggest you test your exemption eligibility using the Home Office link: do I need a visa

If you need a visa you need to obtain your Certificate of Sponsorship first (see below) and then (for most countries) apply online from the Home Office Visa Application Now link.

Depending on your nationality, where you are resident and what your current situation is (e.g. on tour and unable to mail in your physical passport) you will either be asked to send in your passport with your application or attend a UK consulate or embassy in person

Note: There is often confusion about what a visa is. It is worth pointing out that a visa a physical stamp in your passport. The kind of stamp you have defines the kind of visit you're undertaking. This is the same internationally. There's no such thing as a virtual visa so your visa can't change or default to a tourist visa without an authorised passport control officer stamping your passport (i.e. don't stay in the UK after your Tier 5 visa expires thinking you will then default to a 3 month visitor visa waiver as you'll actually default to a five or ten year ban instead!)

Do I need a visa before I get a work permit or do I need the work permit to get the visa?

You get your CoS number before applying for a visa

How much will a visa cost?

See visa fees for all current visa costs

If I need a visa how long will it take to get one after I get a work permit?

Only the British Consulate / Embassy can approve a visa and only they can confirm how long it will take on a country to country, case by case basis. Typically though it will range from a few days to up to three weeks (the UKIV intention is that, in most cases, 90% of visa are turned around within three weeks of the application - we strongly recommend that you do the application at least TWO months before you need it).

If your visa is declined it can take 6-8 weeks to appeal the decision which is why we implore visa national applicants to get their application in at least two months early and preferably three

If you are planning on entering the UK soon we recommend you consult with the UK Embassy nearest you in your country of residence before applying for a work permit. No visa = no entry even if you have a CoS

What is a "non-visa national" as opposed to a "visa national"?

Non-visa nationals are from those countries that have a visa waiver program with the UK. They do not need to obtain a visa (if their stay is shorter than 3 months) before they arrive but receive an endorsement (comprising two stamps) from passport control on arrival to the UK PROVIDED THEY SHOW THE PASSPORT OFFICIAL THEIR COS NUMBER.

Visa nationals are from countries that don't have this arrangement and will need a visa before they arrive to the UK to work for any length of stay (and in most cases, if they are only visiting without working)

What's the difference between a visa and entry endorsement?

A visa is an entry endorsement that you get before you travel to the UK. On entering the UK with a visa stamp you will receive only one other stamp and that will be the date of entry, the port of entry and the Immigration officer stamping your passport's official number. Travellers not needing a visa will have entry date stamp plus an endorsement stamp that will state the leave to remain date and the name of the sponsor

Where can I get a visa?

If you need a visa you need to obtain your Certificate of Sponsorship first then apply online from the Home Office Visa Application Now link

Do you process visa applications?

We do not. The artist or artist management should be capable of doing their own visa application online but we are happy to help (within reason), for no fee, on the application process

We have an artist that has previously been denied entry to the UK. Is this a problem with issuing this artist with a work permit?

See "We have an artist currently charged…" (next)

We have an artist currently charged/arrested/detained. Is this a problem with issuing this artist with a work permit?

Typically this is a case by case situation. If the artist made a genuine mistake (e.g. thought they didn't need a CoS to perform in the UK and were denied entry) then a CoS application will usually wipe out any previous issue.

If the refusal was for filling in a visa application incorrectly in the past (wrong visa for example) then, again, the artist will probably be let in once the application is made correctly.

If the act thought they automatically reverted to a visitor waiver after overstaying their work permit (it doesn't – a change in immigration status MUST to be stamped in your passport on entry or at a visa issuing office) that too should result in an elimination of the five year statutory UK re-entry ban.

What doesn't work is someone who has been shown to have lied on their visa application. For example, if an honest mistake on the part of a previous failed application or an applicant previously being denied is not mentioned on a new visa application this will almost always result in a refusal on general grounds. I.e. DO NOT LIE ON THE VISA APPLICATION FORM. This will result in a ten year ban with no guarantee that being issued a CoS correctly will remove this.

What doesn't work is if the artist was apparently trying to move to the UK and was refused (or we pick up that their reason for coming is to gain residential entry). Again, unlikely they'll receive clearance even with a valid CoS.

What doesn't work is if the artist is the focus of criminal charges in their country of origin - for example has been arrested (even if not charged), has a pending court date or is on probation for an offense.

Promoters need to be aware that a) they should do thorough due diligence on their artists and save themselves a lot of effort (and money) because b) we will do due diligence anyway and if we find they have a dubious individual on their books we'll file a report for them and the individual for release to the Home Office and our sponsor network

What is a Permittted Paid Engagement visa (PPE)?

This is a relatively new visa created by the UK Government (April 6th, 2012) that offers an alternative (not a replacement) to a Tier 5 CoS for acts appearing in the UK for less than one month.

As the PPE is a visa it is issued by the UKVI, not sponsors such as us

Our generous perception of this visa is that it was initially introduced by the Home Office as a counterbalance against third party sponsors who were (surprise, surprise) making a living out of the (often challenging) job of providing work permits for the entertainment sector thus saving promoters, record labels, producers, festivals etc from adding these challenges to their already challenging professions.

The attractions of a PPE are that it costs less than half the cost of a Tier 5 visa, requires much less supporting documentation and is completely devoid of any checks and balances after the PPE is issued.

This might sound attractive but the caveat is that for non-visa nationals it will work out more expensive than a CoS (for groups certainly), does not have the guarantee of upfront legal entry to the UK provided by the CoS or the faster turnaround of CoS (PPE is 15 business days turnaround whereas sponsors will usually turnaround a CoS in 24 hours if sufficient information is provided by applicant).

The other caveat is that the PPE applicant has to demonstrate “maintenance” or sufficient funds to cover their travel and their stay in the UK, usually via at least three months of bank statement. Although the finite figure of what “maintenance” actually is has been removed from PPE guidance (it used to be £900) is probably an improvement this means that applicants now have no guarantee that the caseworker processing their visa will actually accept their proof of maintenance.

The end result of PPE is that almost no non-visa nationals use it (for reasons stated above) who are low risk anyway in regards to resident labour market impact (RLMT below) and so it’s visa national acts that tend to use PPE because of its relative low cost and, quite frankly, appallingly low policing.

As most third party sponsors are particularly picky about the visa national acts they sponsor (RLMT impact, absconding risk) it is, in our view, a complete own goal in UK Government Immigration policy.

Note: We acknowledge as third party sponsors that we have an interest to declare regarding the impact PPE might have on our services but our overall negative appraisal of the impact of PPE is atop a more than sufficient client base to support our company and added to the fact that we are VERY selective on the visa national acts we do sponsor too. As such we believe our assessment is impartial and accurate

Can CME Artist Services book us?

We currently only book one event, The Lancaster Music Festival (UK). Applications to perform in the subsequent year are open November 1st from the website

Our entry stamp has a later end date than the work period we applied for. What does this mean?

Both the British Embassy and UK Passport control usually (not always) add two weeks to whatever the last date of your CoS was on their visa / entry stamp.

Our entry stamp has a later end date than the work period we applied for. What does this mean?

Both the British Embassy and UK Passport control usually (not always) add two weeks to whatever the last date of your CoS was on their visa/entry stamp. It used to be stated that this should be 14 days but that was dropped in 2015. Now it appears to be completely up to the discretion of the endorsement officer. Generally, however, most visas are stamped with a 14 day leave to remain date after the last date of work on the CoS

Our entry stamp/visa has an earlier end date than the work period we applied for. What does this mean?

It means you face an automatic five year ban because the official who stamped/endorsed/issued your passport made a mistake. This is why it is SO important to check your entry stamps on arrival to the UK or your visa stamp before you travel to the UK. This is why we mention this twice in our agreement.

If you find yourself in this situation you should alert the officer or the visa issuing department IMMEDIATELY.

If you have failed to notice this error until you’re in the UK you need to visit your port of entry and contact a Border Force member of staff and alert them to the issue. You need to record and/or get in writing their response so that this error cannot cause you problems later

If our country has a three month visitor visa waiver with the UK does our CoS automatically revert back to a visitor visa once it has expired? Can we just stay in the UK for another three months after our CoS has expired?


A CoS passport endorsement (entry stamp in our passport ) cannot simply revert back to a visitor visa without a new stamp being entered into your passport. If you do not leave the UK before your CoS entry (or visa) stamp expires (or renew through a passport centre) you should automatically receive a 5 year ban from re-entering the UK

We have overstayed our Tier 5 visa stamp. We heard there is a 28 overstay exemption. Can we apply for a new Tier 5 visa while still in the UK?

There was but as of 2012 there isn’t, or at least we can no longer locate it.

So, if you have overstayed the leave to remain dates on your passport the only reasonable way we can determine for removing an automatic five year UK re-entry ban (and bear in mind that UK ports are now far better at monitoring non-EEA passport exits) is to apply for another CoS, leave the UK (e.g. a day trip to Lille or Paris) and return through UK passport control.

Almost certainly, if you try and re-enter as a visitor you’ll be denied entry but proof of sponsorship (and a cringeworthy explanation from your sponsor in the CoS) should remove the block. And, yes, if you do this on our sponsorship we will charge you for this because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place

Where can I get a visa stamp in the UK without leaving the country? Is there a passport centre I can visit to get my stamp?

The (overworked) passport centre in Croydon (Lunar House) is the place to go for visa / CoS renewing in England. There is a paid premium service for appointments otherwise it is first come first served (so get there early). Address: Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY. Office is open 8am to 4pm

As my visa stamp has an expiry date later than my CoS was issued for can I take on extra work during that time?

You technically can but we will not endorse this. If you take on work out of the CoS period even if within the leave to remain date on your passport endorsement we will revoke sponsorship online and report the action to the UKVI

As my visa stamp has an expiry date later than my CoS was issued and I will be leaving and returing to the UK in the time after my work has finished but during the time covered by the visa what should I do?

If you are from a country that has a visa agreement with the UK (i.e. you are a visa national) then you can enter as a visitor (it is worth pointing this out to the passport official on re entry to the UK to avoid confusion especially if your original work pemit was only single entry). Otherwise you may need to obtain a visitor visa from a UK passport office. If you will be passing through en route to another destination outside of the UK and will only be in the UK for up to 72 hours you should be exempt of any visa requirement under the 72 hour transit rule.

What is a sponsor note. What is a Migrant Activity note?

If we need to add any information (e.g. additional work in the period covered by your entry stamp / CoS) or correct information (for example spelling of names, address etc) we can do so by adding a sponsor note online to the CoS (once the CoS is issued we cannot edit it in any other way). A sponsor note is no good for work taken on after the CoS expires or for drastic corrections to passport information (e.g. if we've been given the wrong passport information we'll have to create another CoS)

For a CoS that's 'used' (i.e. has had a visa issued on it) we have to use the Migrant Activity facility to update your CoS (this includes change of circumstances as well as immigration offences such as overstaying or abscounding from work)

Do I need an entertainment visa?

Almost certianly not.

An entertainment visa is an entry visa for entertainers who live in a country that does not have visa exemption with the UK. It does not allow you to take on paid work. You are best getting a CoS and then applying for a visa from the British Consulate nearest you.

Entertainment visas (in our opinion) are a confusing waste of time and are effectively worthless

I'm a visa national and I read it takes a long time to get a point based UK work permit. Is this true?

The points needed for a Tier 5 Sporting and Creative Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) are covered once you've been approved by a Grade A level sponsor and therefore can be processed quickly online (provided you're not a "non-visa national" - see below)

What points are needed for Tier 5 Sporting and Creative Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) visa?

Tier 5 CoS applicants require 40 points. A CoS issued by a sponsor is worth 30 points and providing proof of maintenance while in the UK is worth 10 points. If your sponsor is Grade A level they can accept responsibility for your maintenance (and can’t actually issue a CoS unless they are Grade A level so effectively a CoS gives you 40 points). It’s important that you realise the visa application form has two sections for the points the CoS gives. 30 points for the section on sponsorship and 10 points for the section below on maintenance

We're a band of four musicians and we want to bring our light and sound engineer with us too. Do we need a CoS for them?

Yes, even if they are not being paid, all members of your travelling party if integral to the work you are doing in the UK must have their own CoS. This includes managers, directors, choreographers, dancers, hair stylists and engineers

Do I have to pay tax on my earnings in the UK, and is there a minimum amount of earnings that are tax exempt?

If you earn more than £9940 in the calendar year you will have to pay 22% on the total and this should be deducted by your UK employer using form FEU50 from HMRC. As a non-UK resident you cannot pay the tax liability yourself

I have a show in the UK but I am not being paid. Do I still need a CoS?

Technically, the UK Border Immigration Agency will require a CoS even for unpaid work however there are some exceptions for unpaid educational (e.g. giving a seminar), some charitable and cultural work (e.g. a free workshop). In these cases the organisers of the event should be resonsible for ensuring your entry requirements are met

If I need a CoS at short notice is there an extra fee?

We charge an extra 25% on our published rates for 72 hour turnaround, 50% for 48 hour turnaround and 100% for same day. See FEES for full breakdown of our rates.

I am already in the UK as a visitor. Can I apply for a CoS while here?

No. You must be outside the UK to apply but you don't need to be in your home country. You could, for example, apply from any EU country other than the UK

I already have a Tier 5 CoS and wish to extend it. Can I apply for a CoS extension while here?

Yes. But not under our sponsorship

I already have a Tier 5 CoS and wish to extend it but my visa is about to expire. What do I do?

If you require a visa to enter the UK, technically as soon as your visa has expired you are no longer legally in the country. However, for Tier 5 you can remain while your new visa is being processed if you are provided with a CoS before the visa expiration date. We do not support this however

What exactly is a CoS and what does it look like? What is the difference between a CoS and a work permit?

A CoS is synonymous with a work permit. They're the same thing except calling it a Certificate of Sponsorship describes better what it is, i.e. an agreement between you, a UK licensed sponsor and Home Office

The certificate of sponsorship is an online document. All the sponsored individual needs is the CoS number (though we provide a screenshot of the certificate as well). This you show to Immigration on entry to the UK (or first to a British Embassy with your passport if you need a visa)

Do I need a letter of sponsorship?

If you need a visa you should only need the CoS number but some British Consulates might require a letter too in which case you can use the confirmation letter we send along with your CoS number

Do you process work permits for other countries other than the UK?

No. However, we are always interested in teaming up with individuals or organisations in other countries who do what we do but in their countries. We're particularly eager to work something out with a USA agency as obtaining work permits in the USA is much harder than to do so in the UK yet there's opportunities galore for band exchanges between the US and UK if we can resolve that!

Does a sponsor do anything else?

We report to Home Office any transgression on the part of the CoS holder during their stay (or over stay for example) and have the legal right to withdraw a CoS if we suspect a transgression has taken place

Also, as your sponsor, we do have a duty of care and will assist you in your stay with advice, contacts and if need be intervention on your behalf if you have been wronged in any way.

Any major expenses incurred on your behalf we will seek to recover. However, we're not so petty that we'd bill you for our time or for phone calls or letter writing. We do, after all, want your stay in the UK to be an enjoyable and rewarding one

We have had our visa refused and the visa issuing officer has stated that Sponsor has not done a Resident Labour Market Test. What is RLMT and what are you going to do about it?

First, we would not issue a CoS if we believed RLMT was relevant.

Unfortunately, a seemingly increasing number of Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) do not know how to apply the UK Immigration Rules to the entertainment sector. They often do not understand that the sponsor in this sector is rarely the employer and they often do not understand the concept of the unit company and so refuse non-entertainment members of the group.

As of Feb. 2018 there is a lobby to UKVI Sponsor Policy Unit from several sponsors (including our agency) and prominent members of the entertainment sector in the UK to try and eliminate once and for all this problem that, after mostly disappearing in 2012/13 has increased alarmingly again in 2017.

This is a highly distressing and expensive (and divisive as it can pit promoters against sponsors unfairly) of appallingly un-joined up Government and incompetence at the consulate level.

The situation is compounded due to the (current) inability of sponsors, or our representation in UKVI, to directly intervene in situations where a mistake has been made. The nameless ECO making this mistake can cost the promoter and acts involved a colossal sum of money and it doesn’t help that they also always blame the sponsor for their refusal of the visa application (mistaking us as the employer and not understanding where RLMT does not apply).

We have a clause on our sponsorship agreement that explicitly states we are not responsible for visa refusal decisions and, if the visa application was made less than three months before the first day of work, we do not guarantee assistance in the Administrative Review or any other action to try and reverse the visa refusal. This is an unfortunate step we have to take to protect our agency from incompetence in visa issuance

We applied for a visa three months before our first show date and it was refused. On your recommendation you have stated if we conduct an Administrative Review we should get this decision overturned. What is an Administrative Review and how can you help us?

In every case we’re aware of, when a Tier 5 visa has been refused due to RLMT (see above) the decision has been reversed on Administrative Review. Because AR can take 6-8 weeks anyone applying for a visa needs to factor this into their application submission date.

The AR form is an online document (and it times out after 20 minutes so you need to have your facts ready when filling it out): AR Form

You will need your visa application information on hand and the reasons for applying for a refusal reversal which we will provide you IF YOU MADE THE VISA APPLICATION THREE MONTHS OR MORE BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF WORK ON THE COS WE ISSUED YOU. If you made the visa application later than two months there’s not much point in bothering with the AR unless you plan to rebook the show. We will then assist as best we can. We’re hoping this situation will improve in 2018 but that’s now in the hands of the UKVI Sponsor Policy Unit

I have questions not answered here. Is there a contact for more information?

Yes, email us at: or call the workpermit hotline: +44 (0)7908 495549