I know this is a super popular topic, but I am still looking for some good advice. Here is my situation/ plan...
I currently live in Nashville, TN and make my living as a artist and songwriter. I also work part time in a fine dining restaurant in the city. I am planning to spend 6 months in the UK partly on holiday, and partly doing music. I am no stranger to busking and consider myself a professional with a good bit of experience. I love London, and I really enjoyed Dublin when I visited in 2015. I have always wanted to travel the UK and see more of its culture, and I feel like now is as good a time as ever.
So here is my question...
What cities should I be looking into outside of London if I want to experience a good amount of culture and at the same time be in a relatively vibrant music scene?
Any resources I should now about?
As an American with a passport alone, I cannot work in the UK. And in its current state... it is quite difficult to get a working visa for the UK.
I am well aware that the UK is expensive, but I am planning to at least make enough per week to eat busking and playing music... and use saving for housing/ hostels etc.
Anyone heard of someone doing this before? haha or am I crazy?
( I am young and single lol... so its now or never)
This will in no way answer your question but you may still find it of interest.
I spent a few hours ( maybe ten ) waiting outside the Roman Baths in Bath for some relations to turn up.
Luckily there is a constant stream of musicians to listen to. Every half hour or so a new person would perform.
The relations did not appear so, the next day I was bright & early outside the Baths again & saw the buskers meet up & pick straws to see who got what spot to busk at & at what time.
I have no idea if they had a limited number of people or if they checked for work permits or any other rules but it seemed an eminently sensible arrangement to me. Everyone got a bit of time & no one hogged the best spots around town.
It cost me a good few pounds but the entertainment was first rate.
& .. yes ,, the relations did eventually arrive & no, one cannot get a bath in the Baths at Bath but there are lots of pubs & young people & Bath is a really pretty place.
haha! That is helpful. Thank you!
I Googled 'busking in bath' & got this
Give some thought to this. The UK allows tourists to stay for 6 months but of course does not allow you to work. Busking does not necessarily count as 'work' in legal terms and so may be done without undue risk. However, when you arrive at Immigration with your guitar in hand or on your back, it is quite likely you will be asked what your intentions are. The question really is are you going to try to 'work for pay'. Obviously, paid gigs in a bar for example are a no no.
So you say you are entering the country as a tourist with the intention of seeing as much of the UK as you can and learning about the culture of the country. You are a street performer at home sometimes and hope you will be allowed to do some busking to help with finances. So far, so good.
The only question left to answer may be, 'how much money do you have to support yourself while in the UK?' If they deem it insufficient, that will raise their concern that you may take a paid job. It's enough to get you denied entry. So you want to be able to prove you have a decent amount of money in a bank account etc. to avoid being denied for that reason. Remember, they do not have to KNOW you are going to work, they only have to SUSPECT your intentions.
Here is an example of typical wording which as you will see refers to 'convince'.
"convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
•convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
•have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)"
You want to visit for 6 months. That's a lot of hostel/hotel nights etc. to be paid for. So what would be a reasonable amount of money for them to look for you to have? I'd say 50 GBP per day was a reasonable number. That's 9000 GBP for 6 months. That's currently around $12,000 USD. The recent drop in the UK pound due to Brexit has helped in that regard.
Totally. I have thought all of that through for the most part. I will be shipping the guitar, so I will just show up with a backpackers backpack and pick up my suitcase from the baggage claim area.
I also plan on moving around the surrounding areas every 6 weeks or so as well ( Dublin, Paris, Netherlands), but definitely spending most of my time in the UK.
As far as money, I have a pretty flexible budget for the trip. I'm pretty sure that they wont ask for bank statements etc.. just means of living for my time in the UK.
Do I have to tell them I intend to be there for 6 months?
It is always a good idea to be totally honest with Customs and Immigration. Bear in mind, they deal with all kinds of people every day. Chances are you will just be asked the usual, 'purpose of visit?' (tourist), 'length of intended stay?'. If you hesitate on the 'stay', guess what, red flags go up.
As long as you aren't planning to do anything illegal, you have nothing to hide. As soon as they suspect you are hiding something, they start wondering if you plan to do something illegal. That's how it works and they are experts at sensing when you are hiding something. That's their job, they do it all day every day. So hide nothing.
I would say I planned to stay in Europe for 6 months and come and go from the UK during that time for varying periods. The more decisive your statements are the better. Being vague and 'wishy-washy' about your plans tends to increase suspicions.
RE a bank statement. Actually it doesn't hurt to have a recent print-out of your bank account balance. It is not uncommon if they ask about funds to be asked to go onto your account online and show them a balance. Remember, you have to convince them. A way to show 'proof of funds' is therefore a good thing to be prepared for.
There is no need to be unduly worried about it but it does make sense to be prepared IF you are asked more questions than just 'purpose' and 'length of stay'.