What do business travellers from the UK need to bear in mind when entering Germany? A lot of things, unfortunately. The following article provides an initial overview of the pitfalls and hurdles post-Brexit UK business travellers are facing.
British nationals can travel to countries in the Schengen Area without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, this only applies if they are travelling as a tourist to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sporting events, or for short-term study or training. If, on the other hand, a gainful occupation is to be pursued, whether employed or self-employed, a visa is required. This must be examined on a case-by-case basis.
There are different types of visa (category "A", "C" and "D") for entry into the Schengen area. Visa category A refers to the airport transit visa. An airport transit visa is intended for non-EU citizens travelling from one non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country, but the flight change takes place in a Schengen country. Visas of category D are issued to non-EU citizens who wish to study, work or reside permanently in one of the Schengen States. For entry for the purpose of short-term professional employment in Germany, on the other hand, a category C visa must be applied for, even if this only lasts a few days. The category C visa is a short-stay visa which allows the holder to stay in the Schengen area for a limited period of time, depending on the validity of the visa. It can be issued in different forms, depending on the purpose of the trip:
A single-entry visa allows the holder to enter the Schengen Area only once within a given period. Once the visa holder has left the Schengen Area, the holder cannot return, even if he or she has not used up the number of days allowed.
The single-entry visa differs from a double entry visa only in that the double entry visa allows the holder to return to the Schengen area after having left it. However, if the holder leaves the Schengen Area for the second time with this visa, he or she no longer has the right to re-enter.
A multiple-entry visa allows the holder to enter and leave the Schengen Area as often as he or she wishes, as long as he or she does not violate the 90/180 rule, according to which the C visa entitles the holder to stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. Multiple entry visas are issued with varying periods of validity, ranging from six months to a maximum of five years.
However, multiple entry visas shall be issued in accordance with Article 24 of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas only if the applicant proves that he or she has the need to travel frequently and/or regularly to the Schengen Area, in particular due to occupational reasons and that he or she has proven his or her integrity and reliability by making lawful use of visas previously issued to him or her.
A C visa is regularly not applied for at a German Mission in the UK directly, but at the external service provider TLScontact. In order to apply for the visa, it is first necessary to register on the website of the service provider and make an appointment. A visa application form must also be completed.
An appointment is then made at one of the TLScontact German Visa Application Centres for the actual visa application. The applicant must regularly appear in person at this appointment, as biometric data (fingerprints) are also recorded. At the appointment all the necessary documents, including passport, biometric colour photo (no more than 6 months old), proof of the reason for the business trip, etc. have to be submitted. It should be noted that the application for the visa can be submitted no earlier than six months before the start of the trip. The visa application processing time is regularly two weeks, so we recommend that you submit your application at least 20 days before departure.