Global business travel opportunities

As global citizens we are deeply worried about the decline in business travel – some of it will never rebound and should not for environmental reasons. But most business travel is deferred when it actually could take place, taking all safety precautions into account. Why is this so important? Because business travelers pay the fundamental share of modes of transportation. If they do not travel (or believe they cannot travel), many transportation companies will cease to exist, and this will also mean that tourism will not have access to modes of transportation in the future. Most importantly, many projects are postponed because in-person meetings are not taking place which slows down the economic recovery.

Therefore, we have compiled requirements and regulations for business travel between the majority of Western European countries and North America and offer our insights to you free-of-charge. We update this site regularly but decline any responsibility or liability for the information provided. We offer, however, a targeted and tailored-to-your-specific-needs research if you contact us. Feel free to share the link to this overview with your friends and clients. Happy trails!

Travel conditions for European countries

Austria

  • Entry from an EU Member State and Schengen Associated country is possible without restrictions, provided that the COVID-19 situation in the country of origin is stable and that travelers have resided only in a specific set of countries during the last 10 days.
  • The most updated information on the list of countries and regions affected is available at the Austrian Health Ministry website (in German only) and the tourist website Austria info.
  • Effective October 8, 2020 entry is permitted for residents of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Uruguay without a negative COVID-19 test or self-quarantine.
  • Travelers who are only transiting through Austria without a stopover do not need to present a test result.
  • EU/EEA/Swiss citizens arriving from a high-risk area are required to present a medical certificate proving a negative COVID-19 PCR test (from a test taken in the last 72 hours before arrival). If the traveler cannot get tested before entering Austria, he/she must be tested within 48 hours after arrival, and has to self-quarantine until the test results arrive.
  • A negative result of this molecular-biological test conducted and presented during the quarantine will end it and the location can be left. Persons travelling for business reasons and holders of a diplomatic “legitimation card” issued by Austria are exempt from mandatory quarantine if, upon entry, they present a medical certificate confirming a negative result of a molecular-biological or antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to entering Austria.
  • Austria has been suspending the entry by third-country nationals, including U.S. citizens, from outside the EU and the Schengen area already since mid-March 2020. However, exceptions apply for personnel of diplomatic missions, employees of international organizations and persons who travel to Austria for professional reasons (business travelers). It is always necessary to be able to prove journeys for essential work or compelling reasons by a plausible proof.
  • An entry and transit declaration is required: https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/BgblAuth/BGBLA_2020_II_372/COO_2026_100_2_1781594.html
  • Medical certificate form: https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/BgblAuth/BGBLA_2020_II_263/COO_2026_100_2_1752893.pdfsig
  • Further information can be obtained at the Website of the Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection: https://www.sozialministerium.at/en.html

Belgium

  • Travelling from EU Member States and Schengen Associated countries is allowed.
  • If you plan to travel to Belgium or return to Belgium after a stay abroad, you are required to fill in a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before your arrival in Belgium. If after having sent your PLF form, you receive a text message with instructions about a quarantine and COVID test, you must follow these closely.
  • It is not necessary to complete the “Public Health Passenger Locator Form” when the time spent abroad was less than 48 hours or the time spent in Belgium will be less than 48 hours.
  • Due to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers returning from a red zone will no longer be under the obligation to be tested, until November 15, except in the case of obvious symptoms. However, depending on their answers to the self-assessment questionnaire attached to the Passenger Locator Form, they may be required to comply with a quarantine extended to 10 days.
  • No other special documentation is required.
  • The temporary travel restrictions do not apply to key workers or people travelling for compelling reasons such as:
    • Health professionals, health researchers and professionals providing care for the elderly travelling for work;
    • Diplomats, staff of international organizations and people invited by international organizations whose physical presence is required for the proper functioning of those organizations.
  • It is always necessary to be able to prove journeys for essential work or compelling reasons by a plausible proof, such as an employment contract, a medical certificate issued by an official health authority or care provider or legally binding documents (such as an invitation by a company or organization for an essential meeting).
  • All travelers entering Belgium from outside the European Union, the United Kingdom, or returning from a red zone within the EU, must quarantine for ten days.
  • Travel within Belgium is allowed.
  • There is a nightly curfew from midnight to 5am (note in Brussels and Wallonia the curfew is in place from 10pm – 6am except on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when it reverts to the national curfew). exceptions to curfew are for “essential trips” for urgent medical reasons and professional commutes.
  • All bars, cafés and restaurants are closed. Take-out is possible until 10 p.m.
  • Passenger Locator Form: https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/public-health-passenger-locator-form
  • For more information, visit the Government website: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en
  • U.S. Embassy in Belgium: https://be.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

France

  • Travelling from EU Member States and Schengen Associated countries to Metropolitan France is allowed without restrictions. Travel restrictions apply for entry from high-risk countries, entry from these countries will be allowed in cases of extreme need. The personnel of international organizations based or with an office in France are exempt from the self-isolation measure (unless they have symptoms).
  • A travel certificate is required. This certificate must be presented to companies before embarking, as well as to border control authorities.
  • Additionally, travelers must complete and carry a sworn statement that they do not show any Covid-19 symptom.
  • This does not apply to passengers entering or departing France from the European Union member states, the Schengen Area member states or the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, French Guiana, French Southern Territories, Guadeloupe, Japan, Korea (South), Martinique, Monaco, New Zealand, Reunion, Rwanda, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Singapore, Thailand and Vatican City.
  • Air passengers arriving from certain countries are required to present results of a negative virology COVID-19 test (a PCR test for example), carried out less than 72 hours before the flight:
    • Air passengers travelling from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, or Panama and as of 11.11.2020 air passengers from Algeria, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Zimbabwe, must present a negative virology COVID-19 test upon boarding the flight.
    • Travelers from countries others than those mentioned above are strongly recommended to present a negative test result upon arrival in France, carried out less than 72 hours before departure or to undergo the test upon arrival.
  • Although not mandatory for members of the personnel of international organizations, it is strongly advised that travelers arriving from a high-risk country present to the airline and border authorities the result of a negative COVID-19 test made within 72 hours preceding their arrival in France, in order to facilitate their travel.
  • Wearing a mask in public places (indoor and outdoor) is mandatory in major cities in France.
  • The French government’s second Covid-19 lockdown has been lifted on December 15, 2020 and replaced by a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am. People will be able to move about freely during the day, but authorization forms will be required between 8pm and 6am, with the exception of Christmas Eve. There will be no exemption on New Year’s Eve.
  • To download the travel certificate visit: https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Attestation-de-deplacement-et-de-voyage
  • For more information and updates, monitor the website of the French Government: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/ 

Germany

  • Entry from EU Member States and Schengen Associated countries is allowed without restrictions, unless a country or region is defined as high risk area. The Robert Koch Institute provides a list of international risk areas, which is updated regularly.
  • Travel restrictions apply for entry from high-risk countries, entry from these countries will be allowed in cases of extreme need (healthcare workers, health researchers/ staff of international organizations in the exercise of their functions.)
  • It is always necessary to be able to prove journeys for essential work or compelling reasons by a plausible proof, such as an employment contract, a medical certificate issued by an official health authority or care provider or legally binding documents (such as an invitation by a company or organization for an essential meeting).
  • Business travel for up to five days is allowed and not subject to any quarantine rules A negative test result (taken max 48 hours before entering or 72 hours after entering) is required.
  • No other special documentation is required.
  • Each federal state within Germany sets its own quarantine regulations. In general, a person arriving from a country the Robert Koch Institute defines as a risk area must self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Travelers coming from USA and Canada are encouraged to have a negative PCR test before they arrive in Germany (PCR test taken less than 48 hours before departure indicating a negative result for COVID-19.) If the traveler can prove that he is not infected with COVID 19, no quarantine is necessary in most Länder. However, some Länder require to take another test after a few days. This proof must take the form of a medical certificate. The molecular test to detect an infection must have been conducted no more than 48 hours prior to entry. The test must have been carried out in a European Union member state or a state with comparable quality standards.
  • Travelers can end the quarantine with a negative coronavirus test; from October 2020, you can end the quarantine with a test on the fifth day after arrival at the earliest.
  • Wearing a mask in public places (indoor and outdoor) is mandatory in major cities in Germany.
  • Travel within Germany should be restricted to essential travel only, and overnight hotel stays for tourists will not be allowed.
  • Step up of the country’s lockdown measures from December 16, 2020 until January 10, 2021: not only restaurants and bars will remain closed, but also all non-essential businesses.
  • The Robert Koch Institute list of international risk areas: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html
  • Information on entry restrictions and quarantine regulations in Germany: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/coronavirus/2317268

Netherlands

  • Travelers arriving in the Netherlands from certain countries and regions in EU Member States and Schengen Associated countries should self-quarantine for 10 days, even if they do not have any symptoms or if they have tested negative for COVID-19
  • Since December 15, 2020, some travelers will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival in the Netherlands. Passengers who arrive by air or sea from a country outside the EU/Schengen area that is not on the EU ‘safe countries of origin’ list and who are exempt from the EU travel ban must be able to produce a negative COVID-19 test result and a signed declaration.
  • All passengers aged 13 and above travelling to and from Dutch airports must fill in a Health Screening Form before starting their flight. Travelers reporting COVID-like symptoms will not be allowed to board the aircraft.
  • Your Health Screening Form may be checked at the entrance of the airport and in the airport building itself, during check-in and boarding. At the destination airport, passengers will be randomly selected and asked to show their form. You will also need a completed Health Screening Form for the return journey. You are advised to take a blank form with you in case you are unable to download and print a form at your holiday address.
  • In certain circumstances entry restrictions to the Netherlands are being eased. Since September 21, 2020 anyone travelling from a country to which an entry ban applies whose purpose of travel will have demonstrable value for the Dutch economy and Dutch society may travel to the Netherlands under the following conditions:
    • The relaxation of entry restrictions is only possible if you have submitted an application for travel to a Dutch embassy, stating reasons for your journey, that meets the following conditions:
      • You hold an invitation from an organization registered in the Netherlands or from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), confirming a meeting or visit.
      • The appointment is urgent and must take place in person.
    • One or more of the following conditions must be met:
      • The visit relates to potential direct foreign investment in the Netherlands of considerable size which will lead to:
        • The creation of at least five new jobs, or
        • Investment of at least € 500,000.
    • The visit relates to potential direct foreign investment in the Netherlands that will contribute to:
      • Strengthening Dutch innovation capacity, or
      • Making the Dutch economy more sustainable, or
      • Further digitalization of the Dutch economy.
    • The visit is of major economic importance to a specific organization based in the Netherlands:
      • The Dutch-based organization the business traveler intends to visit must have a staff of at least 10 FTEs and/or an annual turnover of €2 million.
      • A visit is of major importance if, for example, it is essential to the organization’s day-to-day operations, and/or the creation and/or retention of jobs, and/or the stability or growth of turnover.
  • Once the embassy has assessed the application it will issue the traveler with a note giving permission for the planned trip. You and the business you are visiting must sign a declaration stating that you are making an essential journey that has demonstrable value for the Dutch economy and Dutch society, and meets the criteria specified above.
  • You must show the note to the Dutch border authorities.
  • You must also be in possession of a return ticket as well as a confirmed hotel reservation.
  • This means that the Royal Military and Border Police will check whether you meet all the conditions. You must also have a valid travel document and, if necessary, a short-stay visa. This depends on your nationality. The Royal Military and Border Police have the right to refuse you entry if there is a valid reason to do this.
  • In order to mitigate the public health risk as much as possible, you are urgently advised to keep your visits to the Netherlands as short as possible and to limit your contact with others. Dutch rules on self-quarantine are fully applicable, with the exemption of your business meetings.
  • To further reduce the risk, a limit has been set on the number of travelers that may enter the Netherlands each month under this scheme.
  • As of October 14, 2020, a “partial lockdown” will take place in the Netherlands, bars and restaurants will be closed.
  • Health Screening Form https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/documents/publications/2020/07/07/information-for-passengers-flying-to-and-from-the-netherlands
  • For more information please visit: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/travel-and-holidays/visiting-the-netherlands-exemptions-to-the-entry-ban

Spain

  • Travelling from EU Member States and Schengen Associated countries is allowed without restrictions.
  • Since November 23, 2020, all passengers who come from to Spain, MUST show a certificate with a NEGATIVE PCR or TMA result (RT-PCR of COVID-19), carried out in the 72h prior to your arrival.
  • All travelers must fill in a Public Health Form, or use the free app “Spain Travel Health”. After completing the form, passengers will obtain a QR code which they must present upon arrival in Spain. https://www.spth.gob.es/
  • In addition, all passengers who come from a high risk country or area in relation to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, must present a certificate with a NEGATIVE result from a PCR test (COVID-19 RT-PCR), a Transcription-Mediated Amplification (TMA) test, or other test based on equivalent molecular techniques, carried out in the 72 hours before arrival. The list of high risk countries /areas, as well as the criteria used to define them, will be reviewed every fifteen days. This certificate or supporting document must be the original, and it must be written in Spanish, English, German or French, and may be presented in paper or electronic format. If it is not possible to obtain it in these languages, the certificate or supporting document must be accompanied by a translation into Spanish, carried out by an official body. The document will contain, at least, the following information: traveler’s name, passport or ID number, test date, identification and contact details of the center that performed the analysis, the used technique, and a negative test result. The personal identification number (passport/ID number) that you use to get your QR code must be the same as the identification number that appears on the negative PCR certificate. Children under the age of 6 are exempt of the testing obligation.
  • Inter-regional travel is permitted, providing your point of origin and destination do not fall within a confined area where entry and exit restrictions are in place. Transiting confined areas to reach your final destination is permitted, however you should be prepared to show evidence of your onward journey such as train or flight tickets to your final destination.
  • Some EU Member States and Schengen Associated countries require citizens returning from Spain to quarantine for a minimum of 7 days upon their return to their country.
  • Wearing a mask in public places (indoor and outdoor) is mandatory in major cities in Spain.
  • A curfew has been implemented as of December 16, the restrictions will depend on each autonomous community.
  • For more information and updates, monitor the website of the Spanish Government: https://www.spth.gob.es/
  • To know the restrictions for each autonomous community, visit: https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20201216/toque-queda-hora-comienza-termina-cada-comunidad/2048920.shtml

Switzerland

  • Entry from EU Member States and Schengen Associated countries is allowed without restrictions, unless a country or region is defined as Covid risk area. The Federal Office of Public Health keeps a list of countries concerned, which is updated regularly.
  • Travel restrictions apply for entry from high-risk countries, entry from these countries will be allowed in cases of extreme need.
  • Travelers coming from the USA are encouraged to have a negative PCR test before they arrive in Switzerland.
  • The quarantine is mandatory for travelers from high-risk countries (10 days). A negative test result does not exempt you from the mandatory quarantine requirement or shorten the quarantine period.
  • Travelers that are required to go into quarantine will be notified during the flight, on board of coaches and at border crossings. They will have to register with the cantonal authorities within two days after arrival and follow their instructions. A negative test result does not exempt you from the mandatory quarantine requirement or shorten the quarantine period.
  • There is the possibility to enter Switzerland for important business meetings which cannot be postponed and must be held in person. At this time, a special entry permit is needed to enter Switzerland for business travel from non-Schengen countries. This application can be sent directly to corona@sem.admin.ch, including for example the following documents: appointment confirmation, copy of passport, travel itinerary, reason for urgency of appointment/visit, and the reason for the need to be present personally.
  • Exemptions to quarantine are possible for persons whose presence is absolutely necessary for the continued operation of international organizations and permanent missions.
  • The examination of such requests is extremely restrictive in view of the precautionary recommendations issued by the competent health authorities. Only reasons demonstrating an imperative need for face-to-face activity will be taken into account.
  • Wearing a mask in public places (indoor and outdoor) is mandatory in major cities in Switzerland.
    For more details please visit the website of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.
    https://www.eda.admin.ch/dam/mission-onu-omc-aele-geneve/en/documents/COVID-19-Information-for-people-travelling-to-Switzerland_EN.pdf

U.K.

  • At this time COVID testing is not required to enter the United Kingdom.
  • Travel restrictions apply for entry from high-risk countries, entry from these countries will be allowed in cases of extreme need.
  • Representatives of international organizations, will not need to complete the passenger locator form and will not need to self-isolate if it is confirmed that their work is essential to the functioning of the mission, international organization or a conference and that it cannot be undertaken whilst self-isolating. Before the travel, the international organization or conference will need to notify the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or Protocol Directorate that will issue an exemption letter to show at the border.
  • The exemption from the requirement to self-isolate for registered health or care professionals was removed on July 31, 2020, so quarantine for 14 days is mandatory.
  • Wearing a mask in public places (indoor and outdoor) is mandatory in major cities in the U.K.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

Travel conditions for North American countries

Canada

  • Permitted essential travel includes work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, immediate medical care, and safety and security.
  • All international travelers, including Canadian Citizens, returning to Canada must self-isolate for a period of 14 days upon their return to Canada, even if they do not show symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Since November 21, 2020, air travelers whose final destination is Canada will be required to submit their information digitally through Canada’s ArriveCAN app before they board their flight. This includes travel and contact information, a quarantine plan and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. You must be ready to show your ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada, as well as evidence that you have submitted your details digitally. Further information is available on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website and on Transport Canada’s website If you have any questions, contact the nearest Canadian High Commission, Embassy or Consulate.
  • The traveler contact information form is available through:
    • the ArriveCAN mobile app.
    • an accessible web-based form, or
    • a paper form.
  • Every traveler will need to confirm that he or she has a suitable place to isolate for 14 days (with access to food and medication). Travelers will be expected to make plans for in advance of arriving to Canada. The Government of Canada does not reimburse travelers for expenses incurred for quarantine accommodations.
  • Failure to provide accurate information is an offence under the Quarantine Act.
  • Travelers allowed to enter Canada, including Canadian citizens, may seek approval for an exemption from border restrictions and a limited release from mandatory quarantine for compassionate reasons in very specific cases. For more info please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice/compassionate-entry-limited-release-from-quarantine.html
  • Individual provinces may have additional restrictions that can affect your travel. Please refer to provincial websites for full details and the latest information.
  • Wearing a mask in public places (indoor and outdoor) is mandatory in major cities in Canada.
  • For more information please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html and https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/2019-novel-coronavirus-information-sheet.html.

United States

  • Presidential Proclamation 9993 suspends the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. Passengers arriving in Massachusetts must complete the “Massachusetts Travel Form” at mass.gov.
  • Certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics, students, and journalists may qualify for national interest exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). Qualified travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States.
  • Business travelers, investors, academics, J-1 students, journalists, and treaty traders who have a valid visa in the appropriate class, an ESTA authorization that was issued prior to PP 9993 or 9996’s effective date, or who are seeking to apply for a visa, and believe they may qualify for a national interest exception should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. If a national interest exception is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate. Before starting this process, you should have a letter from your supervisordescribing how your visit will contribute to the US national interest.
  • Travelers are encouraged to have a negative PCR test before they arrive in the U.S.A. Currently, enhanced entry health screening is conducted for those arriving from, or with recent presence in, China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), Ireland, and Brazil.
  • Travel in USA: Many airports in the USA have implemented safety measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. You should check the website of the airport you are flying into or transiting to see how these could affect you. Some states have rules in place requiring travelers from other states, with high rates of COVID-19, to quarantine for 14 days or to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Wearing a mask in public places (indoor and outdoor) is mandatory in major cities in the U.S.
  • Further restrictions will vary locally with some states relaxing lockdown procedures while others are pausing or reversing their re-openings.
  • The Regional Stay Home Order implemented in California as of December 6, 2020 prohibits private gatherings of any size, close sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing in all others.
  • Penalties for breaches of regulations will vary between each state and may sometimes vary in different areas in the same state.
  • Hotels are re-opening across the USA but will be operating at capacities dictated by local rules and regulations.
  • For more information please visit:
    https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/national-interest-exceptions-from-certain-travelers-from-the-schengen-area-uk-and-ireland.htm
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Overview

 AUSTRIABELGIUMFRANCEGERMANYNETHERLANDSSPAINSWITZERLANDU.K.CANADAUSA
Negative COVID-19 test required on arrival
Negative COVID-19 test recommended
Mandatory Travel Documentation
Special entry permit
Mandatory use of masks in public and closed places
Possibility of ending quarantine by showing a recent negative COVID-19 test
National Lockdown
Nightly curfew
Bring your lunch: restaurants, bars and non-essential establishments closed
Partial lockdown
Possibility of traveling within the country