By celebrity, I mean maybe a famous singer.

If they are doing a world tour, they are doing "work" in many countries around the world. From my understanding, in most countries if you want to "work", you must have some sort of permit.

I also know that it depends on the type of work you will be doing. For example, in Canada, if you are working as an athlete or coach , you do not need a permit.

What about singers/actors/filmmakers? Do they require work visas to most countries they visit?

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    In general, yes, though there may be exceptions as you note. Some countries have special visas for visiting artists, athletes, and other touring performers, so they treat such people differently from those who would come for a longer term to take up a job or establish a business.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 15:08
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    in fact there are some visas you have to be a celebrity to get travel.stackexchange.com/questions/17126/us-visas-o-and-p Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 15:22
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    @KateGregory what an excellent point.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 22:43
  • When the Blue Jays signed an American player mid-season a year or two ago, he was in Toronto playing for an opposing team and they had to drive him to NY state to get the proper paperwork from the Canadian authorities (out of country), then back again to play. Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 21:51
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    What about world leaders? Does Donald Trump need a visa or work permit to carry out government business/talks/etc. during an official visit?
    – Nick
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 20:21

3 Answers 3


If you're a celebrity organizing a world tour you are guaranteed to have dozens of crew members or partners resolving various issues with logistics in every country. Remember that visas aren't the only barrier - you need legal contracts, booked venues, insurance, transportation, backup plans if something goes wrong, advertising, security, accommodation, etc. And not only would the celebrity in question need a visa to travel, but also everyone else in the crew as they're essentially short term employees in a foreign country.

So the answer is yes, even big time celebrities need a visa (or an equivalent, such as an EU passport for EU countries) for every country where they perform. But no, that's not a big deal for them. And keep in mind that celebrities can be refused a visa as well, just like normal people:

British authorities denied rapper Snoop Dogg a visa for a series of planned concerts, publicists for his tour said in a statement Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said she couldn't comment on an individual case, but did point out that foreign citizens could be barred from entering the country if there were concerns about their presence.

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    In contrast, not having a visa in a foreign country, regardless of who you are, is a very bad thing. You become an unidentified refugee and will have minimum rights until your country finds out you are there.
    – Nelson
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 4:31
  • This is very well put, thanks. One question, what is meant by legal contract here?
    – K Split X
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 23:00
  • @KSplitX you need a contract with various legal entities in each country where you perform. The contract will specify how profits are to be shared, who is responsible for what, what penalties there are, etc. A big time musician is essentially running a large business that sells his time.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 23:03
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    Is a similar practice in place for Olympic athletes? Has an athlete ever been barred from the host country?
    – Mathemats
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 1:51
  • @Mathemats not during the Olympics but yes: telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/wtatour/4630217/…
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 2:08

Several countries have "Entertainment" visas, which are are for singers/musicians, actors, and their back-stage crew.


Celebrities are largely treated like other human beings for immigration purposes. They might have some exemptions or expedited processes (Top government officialls routinely pressure Home Office or USCIS etc) or special categories e.g. O visa however that's the extent of it.

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    "Reference: 2. World Wide Web" ?!
    – MrWhite
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 0:52
  • 1
    Well, He's not wrong
    – ColonD
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 9:41
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    @MrWhite You have a problem with the World Wide Web? Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 17:25
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    @TheZealot It's not specific enough for someone to evaluate the accuracy and provenance of your sources, and it does not provide a reader with a starting point to do further research. In that respect it is not a reference. You may as well say "Reference: Human knowledge."
    – Calchas
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 18:17

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