Operate after Brexit

Travel to the EU

Business travel to the EU

New rules now apply to British passport holders working in and travelling to Europe. Business travel includes activities such as travelling for meetings and conferences, providing services (even with a charity), and touring art or music.

Business travel in the EU from 1 January 2021

Ensure that your employees can continue to travel between the UK and EU (plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein). Check that you have at least 6 months left on your UK passport and that your passport is less than 10 years old, when travelling to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

UK passport holders can check their passport validity now by using this online passport checker.

Visiting Europe from 1 January 2021: Business travel extra requirements on GOV.UK

Read the changes involved in travelling to Europe for business from 1 January 2021 on GOV.UK

Apply for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

Read Government information on providing services and travelling for business to countries in the EEA and Switzerland

Entry requirements if you are working in a EU country

Entry requirements are different from country to country. If you’re travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for less than 90 days in any 180-day period, you may be able to do some things without getting a visa or work permit, for example going to a business meeting.

You may need a visa, work permit or other documentation if you’re planning to stay for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, or if you’ll be doing any of the following:

  • 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 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

You can see the requirements for each country in the Government's country guides and apply for visas and/or a work permit through the EU Immigration Portal.

Taking goods temporarily out of the UK from 1 January 2021

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. This includes things like:

  • Samples to show at trade fairs or sales meetings
  • Publicity materials
  • Recorded film and audio
  • Equipment you need for work like laptops, cameras or sound equipment
  • Goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
  • Personal effects and sports goods

If you’re taking a vehicle, get a CPD Carnet instead.

You will need to make a customs declaration if you are taking commercial goods out of the UK in your accompanied baggage or vehicle. Find out more about carrying goods in baggage.

You also need to make a declaration if you’re carrying £10,000 or more in or out of Great Britain.

Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021

The Association of British Insurers has issued updated information on insurance for travel into the EU after December 31st 2020.

Access the information on The Association of British Insurers' website

Anyone taking their vehicle to the EU is now required to carry with them, a hard copy of their Green Card an international certificate of motor insurance issued by UK insurance providers. This will ensure that the motorist has the necessary third-party motor insurance for the countries in which they are driving.

Green Cards can be provided by your insurer.

Travelling without a Green Card is against the law from 1 January 2021 and if you do so, you will be risking a fine, seizure of your vehicle or prosecution.

Drivers may be required to show documents at the border when entering the EU, but this is a decision for the respective border authorities to take. UK motorists may also be subject to police checks while driving abroad and now need to be able to present the document at the scene if they are involved in an accident.

More advice on driving in the EU is available on the UK Government website.

Insurance for working abroad

If your business sends staff to the EU to work, you may need indemnity insurance for your employees. A number of considerations should apply when asking staff to travel: 

  • Covid-19 restrictions
  • Validity of passports (see above)
  • Travel insurance that covers healthcare
  • The right driving documents

More advice on visiting the Europe on GOV.UK

Earnings while working abroad

You may have to pay income tax in the UK, or make social security contributions in the country in which you're working (or in the UK). You can check the guidance on GOV.UK to find out more.

Qualifications for working in the EU

To continue practising or working for clients in the EU, you must make sure your qualifications continue to be recognised by the relevant regulatory or professional body.

The European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database (REGPROF) lists the relevant qualifications and certifications for each country. The relevant Points of Single Contact for each country can then help you get your qualification recognised in their markets.

Got a question about operating after Brexit?

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