Business Travel Post Brexit

As a result of Brexit, free movement of people between the EU and UK has come to an end...

There are new rules for business trips and holidays for British passport holders. However, Post Brexit travel is different for people born in Northern Ireland.

Read our Post Brexit Travel Guide

How will Brexit affect Travel?

People born in Northern Ireland have the right to hold an Irish passport as well as British passport, which means those who exercise their rights to an Irish passport will retain their EU citizenship. British passport holders will no longer be able to use the EU passport queue at airports and other borders and if they plan to drive whilst on their business trip many EU countries will require an international driving permit.

However, those travelling to and from Northern Ireland with an Irish passport will be able to use the EU/EEA lanes and e-gates at airports and drive without an international driving permit.

Travel rules for UK Citizens

For the duration of 2021, the new rules allow UK citizens to stay in the EU for up to 90 days at a time in any 180-day period without a visa and the same rule will apply for EU citizens in the UK. However, the EU have postponed the launch of the ETIAS until November 2023, delaying the opportunity for people from the UK who will need a ETIAS visa waiver to be able to visit the Schengen Area of the EU. An approved ETIAS will be valid for up to three years or until the passport expires. You will have to pay a small fee to apply for it and this will allow you to stay for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. 

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid for now, but the UK will provide its own version of the card called the UK Global Health Insurance Card. This new card will cover existing or chronic illnesses, routine maternity care and emergencies.

Travel between NI and ROI

The Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK is not reliant on the membership of the EU which means, living, working and travelling in Ireland or the UK isn’t going to change.

There are no requirements for passport controls in operation for Irish and British citizens travelling within the Common Travel Area i.e., between Ireland and the UK, and there will be no change to this because of Brexit. However, as regular passengers would be aware, all air and sea carriers require some form of identification and some carriers regard a passport as the only valid identification.

As a result of this people will still be able to travel freely between Northern Ireland, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

How will Corporate Travel be affected?

One of the Key concerns for UK and EU businesses that require regular travel was whether they would be required to obtain a visa before travelling.

Some EU nationals will not need to obtain a visa in advance for UK Travel if their business activity is listed on the list of temporary visitor activities, as they have the advantage of being treated as a bloc. Business activities that do not require a visa to be obtained in advance include:

  • Attending meetings or conferences
  • Delivering training
  • Attending trade fairs and exhibitions
  • Activities around sales and purchasing of goods

Selling goods or services directly to the public does not meet the criteria and would require a visa.

These temporary visitor activities cannot exceed 90 days in any 180-day rolling period. It is recommended that business travellers retain spreadsheet evidence of entry and exit to the bloc to avoid problems at the border. Other business traveller information can be found here. 

This will apply to British citizens who wish to carry out similar business activities in the EU bloc. However British citizens should check the entry requirements and rules of the country they’re visiting prior to travelling. 

It is important for businesses to be aware of whether their business activities will be impacted by any of these measures at an early stage to avoid delays to their business trip.

Intra-corporate activities

In respect of the UK/EU intra-corporate activities the trade deal provides some relief to business who fall within the same company group. This allows employees to be transferred without the need for a work permit in advance. However, this opportunity is only limited to those who fit the criteria of a manager, specialist and trainee and those who meet the rules on length of service within the EU entity. Those who do not meet the requirements would need to obtain visas under the UK’s points-based system for the transfer to proceed.

Studying abroad

Students at Northern Ireland's universities will still be able to take part in Erasmus student exchange programme as the Irish government is offering those students funding and administrative assistance. This funding will be available to all full-time students and will not be limited to those with an Irish passport, meaning British passport holders will also qualify for the funding. Funding will be available to all full-time students attending third level institutions in Northern Ireland.

However, the UK will no longer take part in the Erasmus exchange programme as a result of Brexit. The UK joined the Erasmus exchange programme in 1987 and allowed students to study and work across Europe. This programme will be replaced by a worldwide scheme named after Bletchley Park code breaker Alan Turing. The new UK scheme for students called the ‘Turning scheme’ will not limit students to the EU, it will give them the opportunity to go to some of the best universities in the world. Further details of the scheme are still to be revealed.

More information on how travel has changed British passport holders can be found here.

Whilst there are many changes to consider before travelling as a result of Brexit, we are here to help support and guide you through the process.

Choose Selective Travel Management to take care of all your business travel needs and avoid any delays or obstacles Brexit may cause.

If you would like to have your Business Travel Simplified, speak with a member of our team on (028) 9038 9007 or email