I've poured over the immigration advice from the UK visa service, and I'm still unclear.

I am a citizen of the US, and I want to hold an event in London, where I would sell tickets directly to the attendees (I believe I would be considered an entertainer).

The standard visa might work - people are allowed to perform under this route, but you are not permitted to take part in any paid or unpaid employment. My question is, if I fall into this category, I am not being paid by or employed by anyone, but I will be charging for my tickets, although I will not even be selling the tickets in the UK, just online in advance to (presumably) British people. The website says that under this visa 'direct selling to the public' is not allowed, but I don't know what that entails.

The Permitted Paid Engagement visa might work, but I do not have a sponsoring organization or an invitation from an arts organization. I typically find and hire out an event space myself, so I do not know who would invite me.

If any entertainers/musicians or other performers out there have gone through this, let me know!

  • I think there is a famous question in our archives exactly on this situation, ill try to find it – Hanky Panky Jan 31 '18 at 9:11
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    Your reasoning about the standard visa, ticket sales, and payment is completely wrong. You will be performing in exchange for payment. This amounts to working in the UK. When the payment takes place, and how, is not important. There is a special visa for performers that likely fits your needs. I'll wait for @hankypanky to clarify. – user16259 Jan 31 '18 at 9:26
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    Good read: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/77241/… – Hanky Panky Jan 31 '18 at 9:57

If you're earning any sort of income directly from UK residents or entities while you're staying on UK soil, then yes, you do need a visa. There are certain Permitted Paid Engagements you're allowed to carry out on a visa-free passport or Standard Visitor visa, but they're all related to academic engagements such as academic speakers or artists exhibiting their work in galleries.

You can read more about the type of visas you can apply for in the Routes of entry for artists and entertainers document by the UK government.

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