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The sections below provide a summary of the changes manufacturers need to consider in respect of the UK’s new immigration system and the new relationship with the EU as set out in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

Business Travel

What’s changing?

New arrangements for UK business visitors to travel to the EU on work-related matters came into effect from 1 January 2021. The UK not being a member of the EU is now a ‘third-country’ and UK employers have to navigate individual EU member state rules for their mobile workforce. Find out more about business travel in 2021 here

EU Business Travel 2021

The ability for UK business visitors to travel to the EU on work-related matters has changed. 

With the end of freedom of movement business travel between the EU and the UK will no longer be as easy as it once was.

Anyone traveling to the EU should ensure that on the day they travel, their passport has 6 months or more validity before for the period of the trip and it cannot be a passport with a tenure of more than 10 years. It is essential that adequate provisions for travel and health insurance are in place.
Please note: Health insurance may not be included in travel insurance and travel insurance alone will not suffice. Health insurance must now be compliant with Schengen rules i.e it has Schengen policy within it. Employers should check with their providers to see if this is already so.
In addition, there are extra actions to take if traveling to the EU for business-related matters. This can include business activities such as traveling for meetings and conferences and in some circumstances, providing services.

Check before you travel to the EU

If traveling to the EU for less than 90 days in a 180-day period, it may be possible to do some things without getting a visa or work permit, for example going to a business meeting.

However local rules and labour law will apply and companies are advised to check the local requirements in each European country before travel.

Border control

It is highly likely that upon arrival in an EU member state, border officials will ask for documentary evidence that will prove the reason for travel, the duration of stay and where the worker will be visiting or working. The type of documents that may be required again will vary country by country and according to their national law.

At border control, you may need to:
  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay (e.g. bank statements from the last 3 months)
  • A letter of invitation from receiving company

Visa and Visa-free travel

While the UK and the EU have agreed a framework under the trade agreement, for visa-free travel for short-term business visits as defined in the trade agreement. These trips must be in accordance with domestic law in the country you are travelling too. For many trips, business visitors may be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, individual countries have different limitations on business activities permitted. Entering under this provision does not allow the traveller to work but simply allows them to enter the country without a visa. 

Travel for both business and personal reasons all count towards the total 90 day period in any 180 days spent in the EU in total. This rule isn’t applicable per country, the time is calculated for the entire period spent in the EU as a whole. Individuals can monitor their travel with the EU’s Schengen Calculator. 

Calculator of travel days remaining under a Schengen short-stay visa – here 

A visa, work permit or other documentation will be needed if planning to stay, or have already stayed, for longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, or if doing any of the following:

  • Working in an EU member state
  • 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 a service under a commercial contract between a UK entity and an EU customer(s)
  • Working in the EU as a self-employed individual or PSC – note that a work permit will only be granted for this category, provided they have contracted with either the final consumer or they establish themselves in an EU member state. 

There are separate requirements for different countries in the EU and Make UK can provide manufacturers with specific guidance as required. 

For more information see Make UK’s International Employment Support here 

Note: You can travel to and work in Ireland in the same way as before 1 January 2021.

Advance notification 

Even if a national visa is not required, business visitors and workers who travel to the EU may still be obliged to comply with the advance notification requirements of the country before they travel. Details of these notification requirements vary country by country and a list of country requirements is available here.

If the worker is providing a service (i.e. a posted worker), or undertaking customer-facing work, there are more onerous obligations to meet.

Social Security Provisions under the UK/EU trade agreement 

The UK has left the Single Market, of which one element was the temporary movement of workers. Separate to this, as a member state, the UK was bound by a piece of legislation governing the social security requirements of mobile workers. This regulation no longer applies to the UK and therefore, under the trade agreement, there is a framework of social security rules that apply to UK nationals temporarily working in the EU. 

Within the trade agreement, the general rule is that any UK national working in an EU member state will pay local social security. However, there is also a transitional provision (15 years) for EU member states to sign up to, whereby an agreement to only pay social security in one country is upheld. 

EU member states have to ‘opt –In’ to this provisional social security measure however, any EU member state can ‘opt-out’ at any time and enforce locally payable social security contributions. As of 15 February 2021, all member states have opted into this system.  

This rule is found under what is known as ‘detached worker rules’. These rules contain a broad definition of a worker and can include, but not limited to, the employed, self-employed and agency workers.

These rules do not define a category of worker that is free to travel or work in the EU, they simply define an individual’s social security status. 

While the social security provisions aims to support business and trade by ensuring that cross-border workers and their employers are only liable to pay social security contributions in one country at a time. It should be noted that generally this will be in the country where the majority of working time is undertaken spent. Failing to identify social security contributions from working time, instead it can be based on where the employer or base of operations is established.

UK workers who are sent by their employer to work temporarily in an EU Member State which has agreed to apply the “detached worker” rules will remain liable to only pay social security contributions in the UK for the period of work in that EU Member State. Similarly, if an EU worker is sent by their employer to work temporarily in the UK from a Member State which has agreed to apply the “detached worker” rules, they will remain liable to only pay contributions in that EU Member State.

A1 forms

As set out above, if as a UK employer sends an employee to work in the they  will need to get a ‘Portable Document A1’ as proof of UK NICs payment. If an employer has never issued an A1 form before, they will need to complete an initial notification to  tell notify HMRC that they intend to send workers abroad.

To apply online you will need a Government Gateway user ID and password

Application process for the CA3821 form can be found here 

Application process for the CA3822 form can be found here

To apply online you will need a Government Gateway user ID and password

Make UK Support

For more information see Make UK’s International Employment Support here

Need further support?

Do you send employees regularly into the EU? Do they carry out a service or are they there to attend a meeting or an event?

We can help you with pre-notified declarations, tax implications and social security coordination for your workers when they are abroad. 

Or are you unsure if you can use the 90-day visa-free travel rule – we can help you decide if you are eligible or not.

For more information about the service and consultancy, we can offer you, contact us at [email protected] or call 0808 168 5874

A1 Form

UK employers need to have an A1 form when conducting business in the EU. An A1 form is simply a certificate issued by HMRC that proves an individual pays UK NICs.


Make UK EU Business visitor requirements and A1 guide

Business Travel to the EU has changed since the beginning of 2021.

Read Make UK's latest guides on:

- Requirements for UK business visitors

- Overview of business travel to the EU

- New notification systems ETIAS & EES

- Understanding social security when travelling

Download letter templates

EU citizens in the UK

What they need to do to under the new UK Immigration arrangements.

Settled status

The UK implemented a permanent settlement scheme for EU nationals who resided in the UK before the end of the transitional period. Those EU nationals who resided in the UK before December 31st 2020 retained most rights they had in the UK as citizens of the EU such as the right to work, study and to have access to public services. To gain this status, EU nationals must have made an application under the EU Settlement Scheme before it closed in June 2021. Depending on their length of residence in the UK at the time of their application they will be either granted settled status or pre-settled status. Those with five years UK residence at the time of the application will have been granted settled status. Those with less than five years UK residence will have been granted a time-limited status called pre-settled status. Pre-settled status will itself last for five years, allowing further time for the person to gain their permanent settled status in the UK later. The applicant’s dependents and close family members may also be granted similar status. 

Loss of settled status

For those with settled status, they will lose their status if they are absent from the UK for more than a five year consecutive period. There are some exceptions to the absence rules where this is for an important reason, such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting.  

Immigration rules

EU citizens who arrive in the UK after 2021 and are not eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme must meet the same requirements to work in the UK as non-EU nationals under the UK's points based immigration system. In most cases they will need to be sponsored by their employers to work in the UK. Contact us for further information regarding sponsorship.

*The above information is what Make UK understands of the information presented by the Government to date as of January 2022. Make UK will continue to update this information as and when appropriate.