Foreign Office issues advice for work trips to EU, here’s what your clients can and can’t do

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Foreign Office issues advice for work trips to EU, here’s what your clients can and can’t do

The Foreign Office (FCDO) has updated its advice for business trips to countries within the European Union to make it clear what work you can and can’t do in each of the different states post-Brexit.

The advice for business trips to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein has also been updated.

The first rule travellers need to be aware of is that, since Brexit, Brits can only spend a maximum of 90 days in a rolling 180-day period in the 26 countries within the Schengen area without needing a visa.

The Schengen area includes 22 EU states plus non-EU countries Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It doesn’t include the EU states of Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.

Since Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not in the Schengen area, Brits can travel to each of these countries for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa. Any time spent in the Schengen area doesn’t affect the number of days they can spend in these countries.

Business travellers are allowed to carry out some types of work when in the EU, including countries in the Schengen area. This includes attending business meetings.

However, what work is permitted without a visa or permit within each country varies slightly, so it’s important to check the updated advice for each destination.

In general, work that is permitted without a visa includes:

  • attending business meetings or discussions
  • attending seminars or fact-finding meetings
  • attending conferences and workshops
  • attending trade shows
  • meeting clients or customers (including entertainment like eating at a restaurant)
  • receiving classroom-based training
  • leisure travel, such as holidays or visiting friends or family

These activities are covered by the Schengen visa waiver, but only as long as no payment is made from an EU-based company.

Some EU countries allow more activities without a permit, including studying, buying goods for sale outside the country, searching for new suppliers and attending job interviews. Further details for each country are on the FCDO website.

Also read: New passport rules explained

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