CT Business Travel have put together the following advice with regards to Brexit and the new rules surrounding business travel to the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland from 1st January 2021.
When the UK left the EU, the rules surrounding passport validity when travelling to Europe changed. Make sure you aren’t caught out by these changes.
It is recommended that on the day you travel to a European country, you have at least 6 months left on your passport. This allows for:
• the requirement from most European countries to have at least 3 months left on your passport on the day after you leave
• travelling in Europe for up to 3 months (you don’t normally need a visa for the first 90 days in every 180 days of travel)
Your passport must also be less than 10 years old on the day after you leave.
Check the validity of your passport for travel to Europe here.
These rules do not apply when travelling to Ireland and you can continue to use your passport if it is valid for the length of your stay.
These rules apply for travel to and between most countries in Europe. These are:
If your passport is burgundy or has ‘European Union’ on the cover, you can continue to use it until it expires. Due to the current challenges of Covid-19, the waiting time for processing passport renewals is longer than 3 weeks, so we advise to allow sufficient time for the application.
At present, travellers will not need a visa for short trips to EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Different rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries do not count towards the 90-day total. You can travel and work in Ireland in the same way as before 1st January 2021.
There may be different entry requirements depending on which country you are visiting. See the current government information.
At border control in the EU, you may need to:
- Show a return or onward ticket
- Show you have enough money for your stay
- Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
Employers will need to check whether they need indemnity insurance for their employers, for more information follow this link.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will continue to be valid until its expiration date when travelling to an EU country. Once the EHIC card has expired, travellers can apply for the new Global Healh Insurance Card (GHIC). The GHIC will offer equal protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on short stays including business travel, studying, and holidays. To apply for a free GHIC card, please visit the official GHIC website.
Travel insurance with healthcare cover that includes pre-existing medical conditions is still strongly advised if travelling to the EU after 1st January 2021.
Travel for the purpose of business including business meetings (under 90 days in a 180-day period) does not require a visa. Some EU & EFTA countries will allow extra activities without a visa and/or permit.
If you are planning to stay longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, or do any of the following, you may need a work visa, permit or other documentation:
- transferring from the UK branch of a company to a branch in a different country (intra-corporate transfer'), even if only for a short period of time
- carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in another country in which your employer has no presence
- providing services in another country as a self-employed person.
Business travellers without the correct documentation may be denied entry. Businesses may also face additional costs and administrative barriers.
Please contact us for further information on business travel after 1st January 2021.
Driving in the EU
It has been confirmed that from 1st January 2021 UK passport holders will not need an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland if they have a card driving license that has been issued in the UK.
International Driving Permits may be required in some EU countries and Norway if you have:
- a paper driving license
- a license issued in Gibralter, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.
Check the embassy of the country you will be driving in. You must also have a Green Card and use a GB sticker.
Full details about International Driving Permits, including what permit you need for each country can be found here. If required, International Driving Permits cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office.
Taking goods into the EU
If you are taking goods into the EU, you will need to check you have the right documentation. Further information can be found here. In addition:
- You may need to make a customs declaration if you take goods with you to sell abroad or use for business, for example taking samples to a trade show.
- If you’re taking goods to another country temporarily for business reasons and you think you’ll be over the duty free limit, you can usually get an ATA Carnet to avoid paying duty.
- Check if your goods are controlled and you need a licence.
If you plan to work in the EU using a professional qualification i.e. legal services, you will need to check that the qualification is still valid in the EU now the UK has left. Further information can be found here.
As the UK is no longer part of the EU, there is no guarantee of free roaming services. Some UK mobile providers have announced they will no longer offer customers travelling to the EU free roaming and free messaging and phone services. Before travel, holidaymakers should check with their mobile phone provider about the costs of using their phone in the EU.
A new law means that you are protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you are abroad. Your phone operator will be able to explain how you can do this.
In preparation for the transition deadline and for more information, please visit the UK government website.