Do you travel or sell goods outside of the UK for your small business? The introduction of Brexit has changed the way UK citizens and residents move around the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, or Liechtenstein. So, if you’re wondering how Brexit is affecting your business travel, you’re not alone. 

This guide will explain how Brexit is affecting business travel, including: 

  • Why is Brexit travel important to your small business? 
  • What does Brexit mean for business travel?
  • How can you prepare for travelling under Brexit?

Why is Brexit travel important to your small business?

Before Brexit, the freedom of movement policy made it easy for UK travellers to enter, work, and live in the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, or Liechtenstein. But, with the Brexit transition period at an end, this has changed how UK citizens can travel around these countries. 

This is important to your small business if you rely on travel or sales outside of the UK. Before Brexit, it may have been easier to travel to a client or meeting in the EU and its surrounding countries. 

It’s important to be aware of how Brexit is affecting business travel so you can be aware of how it affects you legally and tax-wise. These rules may affect your business operations and sales, which can impact your profitability. Travel may also be more expensive than before Brexit. 

Knowing how to adjust can help you support your business performance by planning ahead. Plus, you may want to factor in extra time to prepare for and put together the proper documents for business travel. 

What does Brexit mean for business travel?

Since the transition period ended on the 1st of January 2021, it’s important to understand how Brexit is affecting business travel. We’ll cover a few things you need to keep in mind. 

Permitted activities

There are still some activities that are permitted when it comes to short-term business travel in the EU. Short term travel is less than 90 days in a 180 day period. Permitted activities include things like attending meetings or conferences and consulting with business associates. 

Forms of research and training are also permitted under Brexit. On top of this, you can attend trade fairs and exhibitions. Sales and purchasing trips are also allowed, although short-term visitors can’t directly sell goods to the public. 

Visas

Brexit means you may need a visa or work permit for business travel for things that don’t fall under permitted activities. If you plan to stay more than 90 days, you’ll likely need a visa. 

Then, you’ll need a visa or work permit if you transfer business operations to another country, even if it’s temporary. For small businesses and self-employed persons, you’ll need a visa or work permit if you sell products or offer services while abroad. 

To do this, check the entry requirements of the country you travel to, as these may vary. For example, you may be able to work in Switzerland for up to 90 days without a work permit. 

Qualifications

The EU may not recognise some business qualifications. So, consider checking this before travelling for business. You can do that here

UK passports 

Before Brexit, you could travel to the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, or Liechtenstein as long as your passport was valid. Now, your UK passport will need to be valid for at least six months to travel. It will also need to be less than ten years old. If your passport falls into this category, you will need to renew it before travelling. 

Travelling to the EU may not be as efficient as it used to be. You may need to factor in longer wait times at customs since there may be additional checks. 

Driving 

If you plan to drive to or within the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you may need an international driver’s permit. This will depend on the country you travel to. 

Insurance 

When travelling for business, you’ll likely need to get travel insurance. You may also need indemnity insurance to travel for business. This will cover you in the case that you get sent to court while travelling due to a business error. 

If you plan to spend a more extended period in the EU or Schengen area, you can likely use a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). You can apply for a GHIC on the NHS website

If you’re not able to get or use an insurance card, you’ll need sufficient travel insurance with healthcare coverage if you experience illness or injury. 

Sales of goods and services 

If you travel to the Schengen area for business, you’ll need to declare any goods that you plan to sell while travelling. On top of this, be sure to complete the right paperwork to do this legally. You’ll also need to declare more than £10,000 in cash. 

For more information on business travelling after Brexit, visit the UK government website

How can you prepare for travelling under Brexit?

Once you know how Brexit is affecting business travel, you can plan for it. To do this, be sure to research the country you plan to travel to as requirements may vary. This will help you know what’s expected of you so you can travel smoothly. 

Before travelling, be sure to do any necessary paperwork and gather the correct documentation. Also, check your travel documents to make sure they aren’t expired. Then, declare any goods you plan to sell when travelling. Covering all your bases will help you avoid legal trouble so you can travel for business without risk. 

Save time organising your finances with Countingup

With the impact of Brexit on business travel, it’s good to have a clear idea of how this could affect your business finances. But, financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.

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