There have been several new Brexit restrictions introduced around the freedom of movement between the UK and EU. Restrictions remain fluid so let’s look at what is impacting business travel that we do know, so far we have:-
• no change to travel between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, excluded as members of the Common Travel Area
• potential requirement of short term business visas
• ending of state healthcare rights
• extended validity required on travel documents
(Common Travel Area is: UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man )
The following are the confirmed changes so far :
New limits on the length of stay: There is no limit to how long EU citizens can stay in EU countries other than their own. This right disappeared for UK passport holders on 31 December 2020. Instead, they can visit most EU countries for a combined total of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. For example, 30 days each in Belgium, France and Germany are permitted. Thirty days each in Belgium and France plus 31 in Germany would breach the limit. Passports will be stamped on entry to and exit from all countries.
New restrictions on visa-free business travel: UK passport holders visiting the EU and vice versa for business purposes will potentially need visas or work permits for the first time since 1973. While the rules will depend on the EU27 country being visited, visa-free travel will generally only be possible for UK passport holders for a limited number of permitted business activities. Please note every jurisdiction has its own set of criteria which we can guide you through.
The trade agreement lists permitted visa-free activities for short-term business visitors between the EU and the UK. These activities include attending meetings or conferences, or [engaging] in consultation with business associates. Also permitted are research and design, marketing research, the receiving of training, attending trade fairs and exhibitions, sales trips (although short-term business visitors shall not engage in making direct sales to the general public), purchasing, after-sales service, commercial transactions, tourism, translation and interpretation.
Restricted passport validity: UK passport holders entering the EU will be required to have at least six months left on their passport and the passport must not be valid for more than ten years. There is no reciprocal requirement for EU passport holders entering the UK. However, for citizens from EU countries that issue identity cards, these will – with a handful of minor exceptions – no longer be accepted at UK passport control from 1 October 2021
Changes to the right to medical treatment: The European Health Insurance Card guarantees EU citizens the right to state-provided medical treatment anywhere in the EU plus the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland. UK citizens’ existing EHICs will continue to be accepted by EU countries until they expire, after which they can apply for a new Global Health Insurance Card, details can be found here GHIC
Car rental and International driving permits: The UK government had warned its citizens they could be required to carry International Driving Permits in addition to driving licenses in some EU countries, that situation has been avoided unless the driver has a paper driving license. Changes to renting a car and cross border travel have been affected with new restrictions imposed to move between countries. Although this still possible we ask that you contact your account manager for further details.
Ferry and Freight Requirements: Non-freight travel will continue as normal, passports will be required along with a pre-departure declaration form completed at the time of reservation. Freight bookings will need to be updated with the Goods Movement Reference number (GMR) from the UK Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), and the ROI Pre-Boarding Notification reference number (PBN) from the Customs Roll-On Roll-Off Service as appropriate, according to shipping route before check-in can take place. Without the relevant references against a booking, you will not be able to check-in or enter the port / drop a trailer.
Beyond Business Travel are here to help you navigate these uncertain times So, come to us if you have any queries about travelling in the EU, the changes or impact this will have on you and your business.