Travel activities of employees to other EU countries

Combating undeclared work: A1 certificates required for EU/EEA staff travelling abroad

Employees of employers in Germany must carry an A1 certificate for each activity carried out in another EU country (EU, EEA and Switzerland). This also applies if it is only a one-day business trip and may concern participation in a trade fair, a visit to a customer, cooperation partner, the head office of the employer or affiliated companies abroad.

In the past, A1 certificates were required to prove that employees posted abroad were covered by social insurance in their home country. Since 1 January 2019, A1 certificate applications must be submitted electronically and social security institutions must exchange information electronically across Europe. Depending on the country, more or less checks are carried out and “high” fines may be imposed if employees travelling abroad do not carry an A1 certificate or can at least prove that a corresponding application has been made. Controls take place at airports, railway stations, trade fairs, conferences and companies. Those who do not carry an A1 certificate can also be denied admission or entry, as this could be illegal employment.

As certain information is required for electronic applications, which is usually not available at all for short business trips, e.g.

  • No end date available
  • No apartment available abroad
  • Not just one EU country, but several affected
  • No fixed city in EU country affected,

the application for short business trips can only be made in paper form as before and separately for each country to be travelled. This is very time-consuming, but currently hardly avoidable if those affected want to avoid disadvantages. According to information from the GKV-Head Association of Health Insurance Funds in Germany, the A1 certificate is then fictitiously valid for two years and can be extended at any time.

Our tip: If you want to be on the safe side, apply for the A1 certificate for all business trips, especially if you are going to Austria or France, or ask Benefitax to apply for you.

Travel activities to other EU member states

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