British Photographers and Filmmakers Will Face Serious Problems After Brexit

British Photographers and Filmmakers Will Face Serious Problems After Brexit

If you’re a photographer or filmmaker living in the U.K., traveling to work in Europe might be about to get a lot harder and significantly more expensive. If you live in London and suddenly land a job in Paris, taking a camera with you could soon cost you more than $400.

Among claims of fear-mongering of what Brexit might bring to the U.K. and Europe more broadly, it seems that even the British government’s own website is acknowledging that traveling with expensive electronic equipment might be a problem once Britain has withdrawn from Europe.

On this U.K. government webpage entitled “Take goods temporarily out of the UK,” it appears that traveling with “laptops, cameras, or sound equipment” might require an ATA Carnet in order to avoid paying duty when crossing borders. At present, acquiring one of these carnets to carry equipment from the U.K. to countries outside of the European Union costs £325.96 ($400).

As detailed by this page, “Touring Europe if there’s no Brexit deal,” published on October 2, 2019, there are major implications for photography units, film crews, and arts organizations if negotiations do not go well and Prime Minister Boris Johnson fulfills his promise to leave Europe at the end of this month, regardless of whether a deal is achieved.

As well as this major bureaucratic hurdle and significant costs, there will be other implications as a result of a no-deal Brexit, such as the validity of U.K. drivers licenses and Europe-wide health coverage currently enjoyed by all European residents.

The C.B.I., the Confederation of British Industry, has long warned of dramatic consequences, both of Brexit more broadly and more specifically of a no-deal Brexit. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Johnson was reported to have responded to these concerns by saying: “F*ck business.”

Will Brexit affect your ability to work in Europe? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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63 Comments

Stuart Carver's picture

Will it cost that much take an iphone 11 pro abroad? asking for a friend.

Mark Wyatt's picture

" If you live in London and suddenly land a job in Paris, taking a camera with you could soon cost you more than $400."

How about vice-versa? Maybe this protects the UK photography/filmmaker market?

Could also lead to a thriving camera rental market on the continent (and one in UK).

In Germany the equivalent form (Nämlichkeitsnachweis) is free except for some legwork, so that's sort of a disadvantage for the UK… The scheme is primarily to protect the local market from native travellers buying stuff in foreign countries and bypassing import duties and taxtes, it doesn't bother with whatever foreigners bring in.

Is this not the same as going from the UK to say the US? I think a bigger issue is will UK citizens need a work visa for the EU 26. With the common travel area Ireland will not require a visa.

Dan Marchant's picture

Yes it is the same as currently happens with the US (and other non-EU countries) and yes, unless they negotiate otherwise there will be no freedom to work in the EU and so a work visa will be needed.

David Austerberry's picture

I used to carry gear before freedom of movement, and it was a pain. Every border crossing meant seeking out an official to check the carnet, they often checked all the serial numbers, then you got the rubber stamp. Not something to look forward to. Every item you carried had to be detail on the carnet, and the customs guys could be very finicky. No good picking up an extra lens after the carnet has been made out.

Fristen Lasten's picture

I once had a few cameras and a carnet while traveling from Italy to France. The French said I had forgotten to stamp my carnet in Italy, that I was leaving Italy. So they wouldn't stamp that I was bringing the equipment into France. I had to find an Italian embassy in France and ask them to stamp the letter, which they did.

Ansel Spear's picture

I've lived through the ATA Carnet days when I frequently took gear from the UK to Europe - and back. It was such a PITA. Every item had to be listed. serial numbers, number of cables, etc. I've had goods impounded at the Italian border because we stated on the carnet that we had a certain quantity of cables, when in fact we had one less. (I miscounted when shipping). Clients had to put up a surety bond before the goods were released. Not a happy shoot! Whoever voted to leave the EU must never have lived through those days - or holidayed in Europe either! It's a very bad mistake.

Alex Herbert's picture

Without being elitist, I doubt that a GOOD many of those who voted leave have ever left their own county.

Gregory Mason's picture

Lots of Brits living in EU countries voted leave, they think it does not affect them Freedom of Movement will work both ways as will soon find out.

Jamie Worsfold's picture

Having worked in the production industry for almost 20 years, I can safely say that carnets are a pain in the bum. And that's just for shoots that have lasted maybe a few days in one location. Everything has to be accounted for. With serial numbers. And you only need one jobsworth who decides they want to go through everything and you're stuck in customs unpacking every flight case.

And it annoys me when you get the likes of Roger Daltrey going on about "we used to do it back in the day". Well, things are different now. And maybe it won't affect big bands and productions so much which have massive infrastructure to have people employed to attend to every final detail, but it's going to affect the lower end of the scale - bands just starting out, production companies and photographers who are travelling on a shoestring budget. It's harder than ever to be getting a foot in the door creatively and here we are with a government intent on putting up more and more barriers with our neighbours.

The knock-on effects of this on the UK creative industries will be felt for years.

Mark Wyatt's picture

" This is the country who fought off the Luftwaffe, with nothing more than wit and grit!"
And US assistance.

..."Europeans, they’re not as free as we, in America are." I suspect that includes the UK. And if the Democrats get their way, it will change in the USA also.

The British will be paying a lot more for their "freedom".

If economic success is a desirable outcome then one often cuts deals. A deal is a compromise.
We pay taxes to get services. We limit our movement because of private property and so on. We join clubs and abide by their rules. We have traffic laws.

The narrative that your freedom is imperiled because of rules is not logical because ever since the first human group gathered for shared benefit, there have been compromises in freedom for the benefit of the group.

It is called the social contract.

You might have noticed that if everyone acts on what they think is their "freedom" your life would suck.

The British impulse to Brexit is largely motivated by non-competitive people angry that Adam Smith's hand slapped them upside the head.

Ansel Spear's picture

...and unfortunately, America is the land of Trump. I know where I'd rather be.

Mark Wyatt's picture

Many, many in the USA stated they would head to Canada, so they may be running out of room there. Though it sure did not seem that way when I visited this summer.

Thomas H's picture

Why do we hear this improper WWII pathos in context of the Brexit? Just the US are the United People, and economical power, so was the plan with the EU: Creating united people with a sum of economies in fact regularly out matching the US by a margin. Both economies and a sum of (what) 700-800 million peoples constitute "our way of live" and a dominant force.
The Brits were confused by people with vested interest in tax heavens, and... just like we were impacted by election meddling from Russia, Russians meddled in the Brexit vote severely (research British Cyber Crime report in this matter) because they want the fragmentation of Europe. And so the entire circus has been created, politicians "discover" its not that easy, nation is divided on the issue.
Nobody wants the return to fiefdoms, custom officers stopping people every few miles, opening trunks and suitcases at random, stamping some papers and all such. So please talk photo, zip the Crimean War, Napoleonic War, Punic War, 30-year War, Boer War and Civil War and whatever war. Leave it to History Channel.

Thomas H's picture

Ok, let me repeat:
What Camera Do You Have In Mind? ...Keep Calm, Carry On!

Thomas H's picture

Right on! I just shot on the beaches, someone yelled "no photography" but I said "We Shall Never Surrender"

You quote Churchill in your assessment of Brexit. Churchill is officially recognized as a founding father of the European Union, and saw European economic and political unity as a major method to head off the horrors and destruction of WWII. So I’m not sure why you see the UK’s wartime defense in opposition to European unity: the one who lead them out of war saw them as complimentary.

If you consider it lessening oneself to be in the EU then you’ve already answered your own question, and it was not legitimate if you’ve already made your conclusions.

Then how pointless it is for you to ask a question you’ve already closed your mind to.

Alex Herbert's picture

It's nice to 'see' things your own way. Unfortunately it doesn't make them real. The UK is not an equal to Europe, but I think a lot of our citizens still look back fondly on the days of the empire. They think the UK is still a 'force to be reckoned with' and honestly thought that Europe would be worse off for us leaving... Oh well, we'll soon know.

Mark Wyatt's picture

Ha. And people in the USA keep asking why we are different then all the other developed nations (Europe is a big part of that category). You have stated exactly why. And the EU was an attempt to move towards the USA (closer to the original US Confederation prior to the constitution on the confederation-federation continuum, but better designed).

Rob Mitchell's picture

haha, sarcasm, right?

"I never thought I’d hear a Brit say, being independent is a bad thing?"

Moronic post of the day. You do realise we are not at war and not persecuted right?

Mate, you've got no idea about this.

Let's just start with the "we stood alone" bullshit. The British Empire and Commonwealth in 1939 was nearly a quarter of the world's population. We drew on troops and materiel from across the world, this was the time of "the sun never sets on the British Empire".

Then you've got the Leave crap about us not being independent if we're in the EU. Hey, guess what? Every fucking treaty or organisation involves some pooling of sovereignty. You have the current appropriate example of the WTO at the moment, where countries agree to act in line with certain rules on trade. You could even look at NAFTA closer to home for yourself.

The key thing about this is that we are a key influence within the EU. We drive the rules and push them in the ways that benefit ourselves. Outside of the EU, we will simply be impacted by them due to simple economic gravity. We're also going to be cutting our service industry (the largest part of our economy) off from the market. This might be hard to understand given the sheer lack of integration across the US between states (differing systems in Delaware for example, right), but the Single Market is one of the few Free Trade Areas to cover a large service element.

Then let's come onto 'freedom', and another stupid argument about who people's ancestors were. Yes, Europe is where Kings and Queens once ruled. Same as America is a land of tribal Chiefs. Our ancestors killed a lot of both European aristocrats and American chiefs. Europe is also the land of Magna Carta, of liberté, égalité et fraternité, the two oldest Parliaments in the world, the allemannsretten, and the root of a lot of the western world's legal and democratic systems.

Tim Gallo's picture

"Europeans, they’re not as free as we, in America are"
Lol, youre not in the top ten freest countries in the world. Norway, Sweden, Canada even New Zeland is more free than americans, and this is just few of the european countries that more free than america.

and few years ago even hong kong was freer than america while still being under china. but its sad to what china did to them. but, it seems china money are silencing everybody now...

Rob Mitchell's picture

I'm a dual nationality Brit/Belgian living in Belgium, Sounds like a business opportunity to me.
I'll start renting out kit to Brits who want to come shoot here :)

Daniel Medley's picture

A lot of this sounds punitive. Why would UK drivers licenses not be valid in the EU after Brexit? My US license is valid.

Rob Mitchell's picture

It's called scare-mongering.
The whole Brexit thing was built on lies and keeping the masses scared.

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