Need-to-know: Post-Brexit business travel for UK and EU travellers

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Need-to-know: Post-Brexit business travel for UK and EU travellers 

These days, there’s more hoops to jump through when you’re a Brit travelling to Europe, and an EU national visiting the UK.

You’ve asked us lots of questions. This blog aims to answer key questions we’ve had about what business travel looks like after Brexit.

Definitions in this blog

  • Schengen Area: Countries in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
  • 90/180: Refers to the rule that British travellers can travel to and within the Schengen without a visa for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

A note on visas before we get into the detail. Only certified professionals can hand out advice on those. Thank you to our partners CIBT visas/Newland Chase for helping us put this together (some of this information was originally published here).

UK nationals travelling to the Schengen Area

Top line
  • UK nationals no longer have the freedom to work, study, start a business or live in the EU.
  • There’s new immigration rules for UK nationals travelling to the EU.
  • Some trips will require visas.
  • UK nationals can travel without needing a visa if they stay within 90/180 (for business or leisure) and only participate in ‘permitted activities’.

 

Passport validity

It's recommended that on the day you travel, you have at least six months left on your passport. This allows for: 

  • Travelling in Europe for up to three months 
  • The requirement from most European countries to have at least three months left on your passport on the day after you leave

Your passport must also be less than 10 years old on the day after you leave. If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum period needed.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

Check a passport for travel to Europe on the government's passport checker tool.

Use the government's passport checker tool to check.

 
Visas

UK travellers may be able stay in the EU for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without needing a visa, aka 90/180. If they exceed those days in that period they might be refused entry.

90/180

If you’re travelling to the Schengen for a short-term business trip, that is 90/180, you must prove your eligibility for admission, including evidence that you won’t be staying for longer than 90 in 180 days.

Under the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (EU-UK TCA), you can participate in certain permitted business-related activities without requiring a visa, including:

  • Attending meetings, events, conferences, exhibitions
  • Technical, scientific, statistical and marketing research
  • Receiving training
  • Prospecting sales or purchases

However, not every country has confirmed whether all these activities are allowed in their territory. The above is a provision until validated by the European Parliament.

Any short-term activity not listed above is subject to each country’s immigration regulations. Travellers will have to assess what work they’re planning to do in each country, and seek authorisation where required.

To stay longer than 90/180

Whether for work, study or for business travel, travellers may need a visa or work permit including these scenarios.

  • Transferring from the UK branch of a company to a branch in a different country (‘intra-corporate transfer’), even for a short period of time.
  • Carrying out contracts to provide services to a client in a country where the employer has no presence.
  • Providing services in another country as a self-employed person.

For more information about country specific requirements view this page on the government website.

Alternatively, get an instant answer from CIBT’s Post-Brexit Travel Assessment.

Multiple or multi-centre trips

May not require a visa if plans do not exceed 90/180. If they’re spending longer than 90/180, they will likely need a visa or working permit. Again, check the regulations for the country where you’re visiting.

Where to get a visa and more information

Visa and entry requirements differ for each country. For more information about country specific requirements visit this page.

Alternatively, get an instant answer from CIBT’s Post-Brexit Travel Assessment.

 
UK travellers driving in the EU

More paperwork than before. Travellers planning to drive in Europe need to contact their insurer six weeks before they travel to get a green card which proves they have insurance.

When driving in Europe travellers will need to have with them:

  • Drivers licence
  • Log book (V5C) if the traveller owns the car or VE103 form if the car is hired or leased
  • Valid insurance documents
  • Green card from insurer – more information here
  • GB sticker – more information here
  • International driving permit (IDP) if you have a paper driving licence and those with a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or Isle of Man – more information here

The UK government advises checking driving regulations with embassies.

 

A1 certificates

Check which country's social security contributions UK workers must pay if working in the Schengen here.

CIBT visas/Newland Chase can provide advice on A1 certificates.

 

Taxation, social security and VAT
  • Guidelines on whether you still have to pay UK Income Tax and to which country social security contributions should be paid to – visit this page.
  • Guidelines on paying National Insurance - visit this page.
  • Guidelines on paying social security contributions - visit this page.

 

VAT

UK customers will continue to receive UK compliant VAT invoices from Corporate Traveller.

Businesses based in the UK and Isle of Man can no longer claim on EU VAT incurred on or before 31 December 2020. They also no longer have access to the EU electronic portal to submit claims.

Businesses can continue to claim refunds on EU VAT incurred on or after 1 January 2021. They will have to use processes for non-EU businesses, which vary across each country. UK businesses may need to provide a certificate of status in order to get a refund.

Find country specific information on the EU Commission’s website.

 

Flight compensation

There are some changes to air passenger rights for flights operated by a UK carrier. The European Union’s website has a tool to check what a passenger is entitled to in different scenarios. Take a look.

 

EU nationals travelling to the UK

Top line
  • Free movement rights have ended.
  • From 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens cannot use an ID card to enter the UK. 
  • New immigration rules, and visas for certain types of trips.
  • Short-term travellers can travel without needing a visa for ‘permitted activities’.
  • Those arriving in the UK for work purposes, including EU nationals and families, now require sponsorship.
 
ID cards are out

From 1st October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will no longer be able to travel to the UK using an ID card. They can only travel to the UK using a valid passport, unless they have:

  • applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, or have an application pending
  • or otherwise have protected rights under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements

 

Visas

In most cases, short business trips to the UK won’t require a visa. The condition? The stay is less than six months and only for certain business related activities, including:

  • Attending meetings, events, or conferences
  • Negotiating and signing deals and contracts
  • Site visits and inspections

Some intra-corporate activities, for example when employed by a group company overseas, can be done without a visa. These trips must:

  • Be short. Trips lasting over a month would raise the alarm with the Home Office.
  • Be linked to a specific project.
  • Not involve directly working with, or for, clients.

Examples of permitted intra-corporate activities include:

  • Advising and consulting on internal matters with UK colleagues.
  • Troubleshooting internal issues.
  • Providing internal training for colleagues. Training clients is not permitted.
  • Sharing skills and knowledge on a specific internal project with UK colleagues. Colleagues must be of the same corporate group and work is not permitted directly with clients.

If an EU national working for a UK company carries out work not on the permitted activities list, they can be removed from the UK and face a travel ban.

 
Points-based immigration system

Any EU and non-EU citizens wanting to work in the UK for a longer period must score enough points to be granted a visa. Points are awarded for meeting set criteria such as being able to speak English, having a recognised qualification and having a job offer. There are different routes but we believe the most popular for our customers will be:

Skilled worker:

  • No advertising or cap
  • Minimum salary threshold of £25,600
  • Skill level at A Level or above
  • No maximum limit on stay
  • Applicants must hold an English language qualification to apply

Intra-company routes:

  • No advertising or cap
  • Minimum salary threshold of £41,500
  • Skill level at Graduate level
  • No English language qualification required

If you want to hire employees from outside the UK (excluding Irish citizens), you’ll need a sponsor licence.

If an EU national working for a UK company carries out work not on the permitted activities list, they can be removed from the UK and face a travel ban. There is also a direct impact on sponsor status, including loss of licence and sponsored skilled workers. Penalties of up to £20,000 per illegal worker are in place.

 
Flight compensation

There are some changes to air passenger rights for flights operated by a UK carrier. The European Union’s website has a tool to check what a passenger is entitled to in different scenarios. Take a look.

 
8 steps to prepare
  1. Ensure you know what’s classed as a business-related ‘permitted activity’.
  2. Keep track of and assess the activities of all employees regularly travelling in the UK and EU. For example, you’ll need to ensure UK travellers in the EU have a way to calculate and keep track of 90/180.
  3. Check you have the appropriate business travel insurance that includes healthcare cover.
  4. When travellers request an EU trip, develop a process that includes an assessment of the proposed business activities to make sure they’re sticking by the rules.
  5. Allocate budget for work authorisation applications.
  6. Apply for a sponsor license if you’re planning on recruiting new employees from outside the UK.
  7. Ask travellers to check their passport has at least six months left and is less than 10 years old.
  8. Educate your teams about what a business visitor can legally do in the UK or EU member states, and where visas or documentation may be required.

Want to talk to us about post-Brexit travel?

If you’re a client, contact your travel manager. If you’re new to Corporate Traveller, fill out the form and we’ll get back to you.

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