Traveling to the EU for business is set to change in light of Brexit but also due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen a significant shift in the amount of admin, rules and regulations which individuals and businesses will now need to complete in order to attend conferences, meetings and trade shows, and to conduct business from across the world, but more closely within the EU. While some may rely on business travel management companies to arrange all of this for them, there are some important things that business travelers should know before they venture to the EU.
While the US is set to open to the UK and the EU in November 2021, there are a number of restrictions that individuals will need to follow when traveling to the EU from the US or anywhere else in the world. Firstly, the rules on mask wearing and where this is required differs per country – for example, in Belgium, you are exempt from wearing masks in shops and restaurants.
Whereas in Germany and France, the use of masks is still required in indoor spaces. In some countries, you may also be required to show proof of vaccination to enter public areas such as restaurants and bars, and some countries will also only accept those who are double vaccinated – regardless of whether you have a negative PCR test or not. It is important to check the individual travel restrictions for the country that you are traveling to before you venture to that country.
Citizens of the United States can travel to the EU for up to 90 days without requiring a visa even if the purpose of the visit is a business trip, if you are coming from a country that has visa-free regimes already established with the EU. If you are traveling from a country that does not already have this established, then you will need to arrange a Schengen visa in the US prior to traveling to the EU.
You may also be required to show certain documents:
• A U.S. passport – this must be no more than 10 years old and should be valid for a minimum of 3 months past your departure from the EU.
• You must provide evidence of the purpose of your trip.
• You must provide proof of sufficient funds to show that you are able to appropriately support yourself for the duration of your trip.
Do Business Travelers Need Travel Insurance?
While this is not a direct requirement in order for business travelers to travel to the EU, it is highly recommended that some form of travel insurance is held prior to your trip. This can help to cover travelers for any illnesses, emergencies and other extenuating healthcare circumstances throughout the duration of your trip.
The Future Of Travel To The EU
As of 2022, there will be a requirement for US citizens to apply for an EITAS (EU Travel Authorization) in advance of their trip. This works as a visa waiver, in a similar way to the ESTA in the US, and allows the EU authorities to pre-screen travelers, helping to improve safety and security in airports and across the EU.
This will apply to both visitors of leisure and business travelers to the EU when introduced.
As you can see, there are a number of rules, regulations and admin to complete prior to a trip to the European Union, whether for business or for leisure. While some companies may have internal teams or external TMC’s to help arrange this for them, keeping up to date with the latest restrictions, particularly in relation to COVID requirements, can help to ensure a seamless travel experience for business.