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New Rules For Travelling to Europe For Work Explained

Mar 12, 2021

We know that travel for many is off the agenda at the moment with current COVID-19 regulation and guidance. Essential business travel continues to be allowed in some very limited circumstances ‘where it is not reasonably possible to complete that work from home.’

But when travel does start to reopen up and we are allowed to travel more freely for work, you may find that some of the rules relating to travelling to Europe for work have changed post Brexit.

Rules for travelling to Europe for work after Brexit

Whether you are travelling to Europe to attend a conference or to provide services you will need to be aware of the new rules for travelling to Europe for work before you leave the UK.

Before your trip, it is best to check the travel rules for each of the European member states that you will visit to be sure that you are adhering to all of the applicable rules.

Some of the key areas to consider are entry requirements for different countries, luggage requirements, earnings, qualifications and general travel rules. We look at these areas in detail in this blog.

Entry requirements when travelling to Europe for work

Entry requirements vary by country and you best course of action is to check either the specific country guides or the EU immigration portal for full details ahead of your planned trip.

Visas or work permits are likely to be needed if:

  • you are taking part in activities/providing services not covered by a country’s visa-waiver rules
  • you plan to stay for more than 90 days in a 180-day period for any reason
  • you are 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
  • you are carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in another country in which your employer has no presence
  • you are providing services in another country as a self-employed person

However, if you are going to a business meeting, attending a conference, cultural or sporting events or exchanges, or are travelling for media or journalistic reasons and are travelling for less than 90 days in a 180-day period it is unlikely that you will need a visa.

Luggage requirements when travelling to Europe for work

There are new rules which apply to personal allowances when travelling between Great Britain and the EU. This applies to all travel not just business travel and you can find out more about bringing goods into the UK, your personal allowance and when duty may apply on the gov.uk site.

If you are travelling for business purposes and are taking goods to another country temporarily, such as samples to show at trade fairs or sales meetings, publicity materials,  equipment you need for work like laptops or cameras, you may be able to get an ATA Carnet to prevent you having to pay duty. Duty will typically be due if the goods you are taking exceed your duty-free allowance of £390.

You‘ll also need to check the rules around merchandise in baggage if you plan to take commercial goods out of the UK in your baggage or vehicle.

And you’ll need to make a declaration if you’re carrying over £10,000 in to or out of Great Britain. Check the rules about carrying cash here.

Check your earnings

If you are working abroad, you will need to check if you still need to pay UK income tax and national insurance. You will need to inform HMRC when you leave the UK to work abroad.

Refer to this guidance for full details on tax requirements when working in an EU country.

Check your Qualifications

You’ll need to ensure that your qualifications are still recognised by the relevant regulatory or professional body in the country you are travelling to if you intend to practice or service clients in the EU.

You can confirm if your profession is regulated on the European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database (REGPROF). You’ll then need to contact the relevant county to find out how to get your professional qualification recognised.

Check all of the travel rules that apply to travelling to Europe

A number of new travel rules are in place now that Brexit has completed as well as COVID-19 restrictions. Make sure you check all of these before travelling as well as the specific rules relating to travelling to Europe for work 

Brexit has led to many changes which impact businesses in a number of different ways. And whilst we cannot travel freely at the moment, once travel does open up you and your employees will want to be ready. You’ll need a full understanding of the rules which now apply when travelling to Europe for work to avoid any delays or disruption to your business. Keep an eye on our blog where we provide relevant information for businesses regarding Brexit on a regular basis.

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