The latest on Brexit

The UK formally left the EU on 31 January 2019. On 1 February 2019, the UK entered an 11-month transition period during which nothing changed in practical terms. The transition period comes to an end at 11pm GMT on 31 December 2020, at which point EU rules and regulations will cease to apply to the UK. 

At the time of writing, no deal has been agreed between the UK and the EU, therefore the terms of the future relationship remain unclear. 

PRS for Music has always approached our preparations for Brexit on the premise of there not being a deal, in order to be ready for whichever outcome. 

Brexit and PRS for Music 

Please be assured that the way we operate on your behalf won’t change. 

We’ve been assessing the possible impacts of leaving the EU on our operations, our staff, the rights we represent and, of course, you, our members. These impacts will vary depending on the terms of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. We’re putting measures in place to make sure that we can carry on operating effectively, whatever the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU. In some cases, these measures are meant to provide short-term fixes, while we wait for confirmation of the future trading relationship with the EU. 

The transition period 

See below for some of the most frequently asked questions relating to Brexit and some up-to-date practical guidance for the transition period, including: 

  • travelling and touring with instruments and equipment 
  • staying in the UK if you’re not a UK or Irish National 


No, there will be no changes to how we collect royalties from Europe.

Royalties flow via individual agreements between societies based on contractual agreements. These aren’t dependent on the UK’s membership of the EU or any trade deals. Individual tax arrangements, like rules on withholding tax, are decided separately from the EU so there’s nothing to suggest major change in that area.

It’s very unlikely that you will be able to tour Europe as freely once the UK has left the EU, following the transition period.

The UK will no longer be a part of the single market and won’t benefit from the freedom of movement because of the Government’s intention to give the UK more control of immigration into the country. This means UK citizens should expect to face the same restrictions when entering EU countries, potentially even the need of a visa.

Ending the free movement of people also means ending the free movement of goods, and any restrictions on the movement of physical goods in and out of the EU and UK will mean checks at the borders. These checks would also apply to touring equipment. The extent of these restrictions hasn’t been worked out yet but we, in partnership with the wider music industry, are calling for solutions for UK artists touring in the EU.

To date, the UK’s copyright law has been decided at a European level and then made into national law by the UK government. This means that the existing rights and protections are already part of UK law and the government has said it has no plans to change them at this time. Even in the future, if the UK decides to change the existing copyright rules, including the term of protection for copyright, it must comply with existing international treaty obligations. These obligations provide minimum standards for the protection of rights, although these are lower than UK rightsholders currently enjoy. 

The Copyright Directive 

The UK government has stated that it has no intention of transposing the recent EU Copyright Directive into UK law. While this is disappointing, UK creators will nevertheless benefit from these enhanced protections when their works are used in EEA members states. We will work with the UK government to understand what measures they are going to put in place to make sure the UK remains an attractive home for creative businesses and their rights. 

No. We provide services to songwriters, composers and publishers around the world and will carry on doing this after we leave the EU, including members based in our agency territories, Malta and Cyprus.

Practical guidance

We’ve set out some guidance below based on information issued by the Government, to help you to plan ahead. As things change during the transition period, we’ll update this area.  

Travelling and touring with instruments and equipment

Do you know what items you are taking with you and their value ? Customs authorities may ask you to identify all the items you are moving across the border.

Are you aware of the customs processes in the country you are travelling to? This information can be found easily with a quick online search. 

Should you hire a customs broker or a freight forwarder to help plan your journeys and navigate customs procedures? 

You might be able to use a ‘declaration by conduct’, or ‘oral declaration’ instead of a full written customs declaration. These both require a paper form, that is completed in the presence of customs authorities.

An ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows you to temporarily import professional equipment, staging items, or goods for exhibitions (including musical instruments, lighting, wardrobe etc). An ATA Carnet allows you to clear goods through customs in countries that are part of the Carnet system. It's applied for on a country-by-country basis. Once acquired it's valid for one year and allows for the movement of the goods listed as many times as required in that period.

If you're intending to take the items back into the UK, you will need proof that the items were here before you took them abroad (e.g. an export declaration), otherwise you might be taxed on re-entry.

If any of the instruments or equipment you're taking abroad contain material from species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), you'll need to obtain the specific licenses.

Cultural goods over 50 years old, including valuable instruments (valued at or above £34,300) are likely to be classed as ‘objects of cultural interest’ so you might need a specific license for transporting them out of the UK.

Read the latest full government guidance on the movement of goods, during the transition period and after 1 January 2021, by going to the GOV.UK website.

Staying in the UK if you're not a UK or Irish national

The UK Government has said it intends to respect the rights of the EU nationals now living in the UK. This means that EU citizens and their family members living in the UK will be welcome to stay and continue to work. However, EU nationals might need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you're an EU citizen and you want to remain in the UK after the 30 June 2021, you and your family will need to apply for settled status using the new EU Settlement Scheme.

You'll need to apply if:

  • you're an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • you're not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but your family member is

This means you'll need to apply even if you:

  • were born in the UK but aren't a British citizen
  • have a UK Permanent Resident Document
  • are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who doesn't need to apply - including if they're from Ireland
  • are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen with a British citizen family member

The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. However, you must have begun living in the UK prior to 31 December 2020.

You'll need:

  • an email address and phone number
  • your current passport or national identity card, if you're an EEA or Swiss national
  • your current passport or UK residence card with a biometric chip, if you're not an EEA or Swiss national
  • a digital photograph of yourself or the ability to take one using a mobile phone or camera
  • proof of continuous residence if you're applying for settled status, for example bank statements, utility bills and pay slips. You can give your national insurance number to allow an automated check of your residence based on tax and certain benefit records

You'll be asked to declare any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect your application.

If your application is successful:

  • a letter will be emailed to you confirming your settled or pre-settled status

If your application is unsuccessful:

  • you may be able to apply for an administrative review of the decision
  • you can't currently appeal the decision

You can apply again at any time until 30 June 2021.

Settled status will usually be granted if:

  • you have begun living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • you have five years’ continuous residence in the UK

 Pre-settled status will usually be granted if:

  • you do not have five years' continuous residence in the UK

The application can be accessed at GOV.UK.

You can apply using a laptop, a mobile phone, or via post.

You can only use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app for Android to scan your document if you have one of the following:

  • valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport or ID card, if it's a biometric residence card

Otherwise you'll need to send your documents by post to the Home Office.

You can use someone else’s Android phone to prove your identity. You can also make an appointment with the Assisted Digital Service where you can have your documents scanned and verified for you at an ID document scanner location. You'll need to book an appointment and you might have to pay a fee.

If you live in a particular area, you can ask for an Assisted Digital tutor to visit you at home and help you complete your application.

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