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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Work permit as a magician (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Daniel Ulzen
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Veteran user
Berlin/Germany
390 Posts

Profile of Daniel Ulzen
Hi!

I am german and plan to do magic shows and magic courses for beginners in other countries like southafrica, brasil or marokko. Does anybody here has experience with the topic work permit as a magician? It is easier to get a work permit as an artist than in other working areas? Any advices for me? Thanks a lot in advance!

Have a great day!

Daniel ;-)
LeeDillingham
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Las Vegas
263 Posts

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I performed in Brazil once. I was not that big of a deal. When I applied for my work visa, I just had to provide a copy of my performance contract and it was approved within a couple of weeks.

In most cases, you will only be there for a day or so. Many clients will just bring you in as a tourist and pay you in cash. However, if you a carrying lots of props, you may get questioned by the Customs and Immigration folks.
diamond
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Serbia & Montenegro
200 Posts

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I perform abroad a lot. The laws differ from country to country when it comes to obtaining a work permit and all the necessary documents, but the way of obtaining them is pretty much the same everywhere. For instance in most countries you will be required to obtain a work permit and a temporary residence permit even if you are there performing just 1 show, some countries will require some additional documents like a written approval from their local performing arts association that you are different from any of their local acts and that you are not jeopardizing anyone's work there (for instance you need that kind of a document to be able to perform in the US).

It is a piece of cake to obtain the work permit for some countries while for some other countries it is really a painful and long procedure. I have performed in South Africa and Morroco, so I might tell you that the procedure for South Africa is extremely complicated and it took me some 6 months to get the proper work permit and all that. On the other hand side, Morroco was pretty fast... The only way to find out what kind of documents you would need would be to call the embassies of those countries you want to perform at plus you should call their local performers' associations.

No matter whether you will get your documents (work permit, a proper visa, temporary residence permit, etc.) easilly or not, the procedure is more or less the same for every country. And in 99% percent of the cases you will need to have a contract with some company, agency, venue or so in order to get a work permit. You MUST get that while you are still in your country as the work permits can be obtained only at the embassy of a certain country in your country. If you thought of just going to some country, trying to find work there and then getting a work permit there on the spot - forget it it is completely impossible. So for instance if you want to go to Brazil and perform there some venue or an agency or a company must INVITE you to perform there, obtain and send you all sorts of documents that you would need to present at the embassy in order to get a visa and a work permit. If you go to any country as a tourist without a visa or on a tourist visa, you will be banned from looking for work there so if you for instance work with big props you won't even be able to enter that country with props cause if the customs officers at the airport decide randomly to check your bags and they find props and the equipment for the shows there it will ring a bell to them that you came there to work and they won't let you in. SO the number one rule is that you will have to be invited by some company and have your contract signed while you are still in Germany.

So my advice would be to search the internet for places that you might be able to perform at in those countries, also agents that book performers in those countries (and the agents can be either from that country or from any other country as the agent does not necessarily have to be a local one - I work through a European agent who sends me worldwide). Once you find an agent or the venue directly, send them your promotional package and a video of your show, if they want to book you they will invite you and they will send you a contract. Once you have a contract it is not too much of your concern whether the procedure is easy or complicated as it is usually upon the company or an agency that invites you to organize your documents and to send you everything you would need to have. They will probbably contact their ministry of foreign affairs to see what they should send you in order to get you there and to provide you with a work permit and other documents. Mostly, your part will be only to fill in the form in the embassy, bring your passports along with some photos, maybe for some countries you would need to provide a proof that you are a professional performer (a letter from your local performers' association or so). The procedure might last anything from 1 day to 1 year depending on the country you will be going to.

When you get the work permit, it will (for entertainers in most countries and in most cases) be limited only for the company/agency that originally invites you. You won't be able to search for work in other companies/agencies once you're there and once your contract expires your work permit will expire as well. In other words you do have to apply and undergo the procedure for obtaining a work permit for every single gig (I mean here - gig as a contract).

Also, for like 1 guest appearance in some country or a very short contract (a couple of days or so) the ones that are inviting you might want to skip the whole work permit procedure which is mostly complicated for them (it costs money and once they have you as a foreigner performing there it might influence their tax things, etc.), so they might just want to "smuggle you in" as a tourist. If it is the ppl you know you can take the risk as it is not likely that their immigration authorities will want to check those 1-2 shows or lectures that you will be performing. You may also get away even with stage show props if the customs officers search your bags - you can say that you are going to a magic convention or whatever. But once you are there on a tourist visa and you work there, you are totally unprotected, the employer might suddenly just dissapear and not pay you after the show, they can decrease your fees on the spot, blackmail you in various ways, etc. If you are on a tourist visa, even if you have a written contract with them, it is worth nothing. So you can take this risk ONLY if you know the employer very well. For instance I can't do that due to the fact that my show contains several big illusions which are transported by cargo and are in no way "a casual extravagant tourists' luggage. Even if I go to some country to perform just only a 10 minute spot I must have a work permit.
Al Kazam the Magic Man
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Special user
Living in Perth Western Australia
993 Posts

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Hello Diamond,

I met you when you were performing at the "Da Su Jier" Around the World entertainment park in Taiwan about 5 years ago. I noticed in many of the photos on your website some of the dancers and the stage at the park.

In case you didn't know the park has closed now, but many of the performers are working down south at a major hotel near the beaches. I saw Rossi a couple of years ago when he comes to Taiwan to sell his magic props. I have known him now for about 6 years and used to see him every time he came to Taiwan.

All the best,

JoJo
Al Kazam --> Magic guy in Perth Australia
LeeDillingham
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Loyal user
Las Vegas
263 Posts

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Diamond,

Very good write up on this subject. Thanks for the information.

Lee
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