International business travel: employer responsibilities

Business travel to Europe

Guide

Whether you're attending a conference or working in Europe, new rules apply if you or your staff need to travel to Europe for work. You will need to check the rules for each country you will visit. Common Travel Area rights are unaffected. If you are a British or Irish citizen you can work and live in the UK or Ireland without needing additional permission.

As well as the actions all travellers need to take, there are extra actions you or your staff must consider if travelling to the EU for business.

Please note: This guidance only applies to those travelling using a British passport. If you or your staff are travelling using an Irish passport you should check the travel advice from Department of Foreign Affairs.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements vary. Check the country-by-country guides for comprehensive guidance on the entry requirements for the country/countries you are travelling to and how to apply for a visa or work permit, if needed. See further information about providing services in Europe.

You should check if you need a visa or work permit if you are:

  • taking part in activities that are not covered by a country’s visa-waiver rules
  • staying for more than 90 days in a 180-day period for any reason
  • 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
  • providing services (including under contract) in another country

If you are travelling for less than 90 days in a 180-day period, you will not need a visa if you are:

  • going to a business meeting, attending a conference, attending cultural or sports events or exchanges
  • travelling for journalistic or media purposes

You should always check with the country’s authorities or embassy before you travel, to make sure you meet their legal requirements.

Your luggage

If you’re taking goods to another country temporarily for business reasons and you think you’ll be over the duty free limit of £390, 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
  • large amounts of equipment such as cameras or sound equipment
  • goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
  • personal effects and sports goods

If you are leaving or entering the UK temporarily, including on a business trip, you do not need to declare your laptop or mobile phone to customs.

You will need to make a customs declaration if you are taking commercial goods out of the UK in your accompanied baggage or vehicle. Check the rules around Merchandise in Baggage for more information.

You need to make a declaration if you’re carrying €10,000 or more in or out of Northern Ireland from any country, including the EU. To check the guidance or obtain an online form see taking cash in and out of Northern Ireland.

Your earnings

Check if you will still have to pay UK Income Tax, and find out whether you will pay social security contributions in the country where you work or in the UK - see tax when working in an EU country.

Professional qualifications

To work in a regulated profession or provide services to clients in the EU (e.g. for engineering, teaching or legal services), you will need to have your professional qualifications recognised by the relevant regulatory or professional body in the EU Member State in which you are intending to work. Check the European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database (REGPROF) to find out if your profession is regulated in that country. You can then seek advice from the UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK CPQ) to find out which regulatory or professional body you should contact and how to get your professional qualification recognised with them.

Insurance

If you are responsible for a business that sends staff abroad, check whether you need indemnity insurance for your employees.

New general travel rules

Be sure to check the new rules that apply to all travel to Europe. See visiting the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for the latest information and guidance. New rules include:

  • Passport validity - There are new rules for British Citizen passport holders, travelling to Europe. You should check that your passport meets validity rules now using the online passport checker, as you may need to renew it earlier than planned. Allow up to 10 weeks for the renewal process. These new rules do not apply to travel to Ireland.
  • Travel insurance and health cover - The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) continues to be valid for travel to the EU. Once expired, the new, free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) can be applied for. EHICs and GHICs are not an alternative to travel insurance. See full information on getting the right travel insurance.
  • Driving in Europe - UK Motorists driving their own vehicle to Europe must obtain a motor insurance Green Card and may need to display a GB sticker on their vehicle. See full information on driving in Europe. There are no new requirements if you are hiring a car in Europe.