US

Sep 17 2020

Some Business Travel to Europe Resumes

European Union

At a Glance

  • Some European countries are lifting entry restrictions to allow limited business travel to resume.
  • Specifically, Belgium and the Netherlands have introduced new exemptions to the general entry ban in the European Union for select business travelers with consular permission.
  • Other European locations may follow with similar exemptions in the coming weeks.  Access Fragomen’s dedicated microsite for the latest updates on this rapidly developing situation.

The situation

Some European countries are lifting entry restrictions to allow limited business travel to resume.

A closer look

After several months of pandemic-related restrictions gradually being lifted or adapted to allow economic rebuilding, several European countries now allow business trips under certain circumstances. Below are key examples:

  • Belgium. As of September 11, essential short-term business travelers who are either employees or self-employed can enter Belgium, regardless of whether their work is subject to a work authorization requirement or if they are work authorization-exempt. These travelers must obtain an “Attestation of Essential Travel” from a Belgian consular post to avoid queries by airline companies or border control.
  • Bulgaria. Short-term business travelers directly engaged in critical infrastructure or in investment projects are permitted entry if carrying an approval letter from the Ministry of Economy or another competent Ministry. 
  • Cyprus. Business travel from countries the government designates as Category A and B is allowed. An entry permit is required.
  • Greece. Passengers traveling for urgent business reasons with an authorization issued by the Greek consular post can enter. Business travelers who completed a business trip in Greece may not re-enter until September 30.
  • Netherlands. Starting September 21, certain business trips will be permitted subject to a consular approval process. To be eligible, the meeting must be urgent and must require personal presence; must be related to a significant or innovative (potential) investment, or of great economic importance to a Dutch company; and must be sponsored by a Dutch company or by the Dutch Investment Agency. A monthly quota will apply but has not yet been published.
  • Bosnia, Croatia, Denmark. These countries allow entry for business travelers.
  • Czech Republic. EU nationals entering from countries designated as low risk can enter for business purposes. 
  • Estonia. Asymptomatic residents of Australia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay can enter for tourism or business purposes.
  • Latvia. Business visitors with entry visas can enter, unless they are crossing the land border between Latvia and Russia or Belarus.
  • Bulgaria. Business travelers are allowed entry if they are involved in projects in the construction or  maintenance of critical infrastructure of Bulgaria; projects under the Investment Promotion Act; or other pre-approved investment activities related to the local economy.

Impact

The expanded entry permission is an important change, specifically targeting short-term travelers for the first time after many months of pandemic-related restrictions. These changes signal an increased focus on economic rebuilding at the policy level.

Background

As a reminder:

  • Travelers may still be questioned by border officials upon entry;
  • Travelers may be required to carry a negative COVID-19 test result and/or undergo quarantine requirements;
  • Travelers may need to submit a posted worker notification; and
  • Visa nationals must still obtain a visa before travel.

Looking ahead

It is possible that other European countries will soon adopt or amend business entry exemptions. Access Fragomen’s dedicated COVID-19 microsite for the latest updates on this rapidly developing situation.

Contact your Fragomen representative to discuss eligibility and process steps for entry.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].