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This question seems to be of relevance to all business travelers in the EU.

The background of this question is as follows: I work at a university in the EU (Germany). Today there came an email that we need to request a A1 certificate regarding social contributions if we travel to another EU country for any kind of business trip. (I understand that to make the local administration happy, i should fill a form to request this certificate for every EU travel 2 weeks before traveling to another EU country)

This question is however not about my local personal case but about the general case. Do EU residents need an A1 certificate for any business trip in another EU country?

Quick research on the web indicates, that this "strict" interpretation of an EU directive is shared by several German health insurance companies [1] and large companies like KPMG [2]. Furthermore, their interpretation suggests that this rule applies to all EU citizens who are working in an EU country, and who will go to another EU country for any kind of business trip.

After quick skimming of EU Regulation 987/2009 [3], to me personally, all of this just seems to make sense for secondments in another university, research center or company. But not for visiting conferences, giving a short talk, or having a short meeting.

Is the interpretation that an A1 certificate is necessary for any small business trip, really correct? How is this handled in Other EU countries? Maybe it is even necessary to distinguish between how this is handled "de jure", and "de facto". What are your experiences, and how are your employers (either companies or universities) dealing with this EU Regulation?

EDIT 1: in a previous version of the question i mistakenly used the term A1 Form, where i should have used A1 certificate or portable document.

EDIT 2: I looked and asked some more: Several big companies in Germany are instructing their employees now to obtain an A1 certificate for their EU business trips(KPMG, Bosch). But since it is about EU rules, it should be a big thing for business travelers, and i am some what surprized that so few people are confronted with this yet. Maybe it is also just some local German interpretation, and many are just coping this interpretation. Here [4] is an expat website, which also speaks about it in english. Although it seems a complicated matter, i am still interested in experiences and views on this topic.

[1] https://www.tk.de/firmenkunden/service/versicherung/tk-service-ausland/haeufige-fragen-zum-a1-2038394 (German)

[2] https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2018/08/flash-alert-2018-115.html (English)

[3] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32009R0987&from=en (English)

[4] https://www.forum-expat-management.com/users/33473-tanel-feldman/posts/43218-is-a-portable-document-a1-required-for-short-term-business-travellers

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    Where did this email come from? – Henning Makholm Apr 12 at 9:17
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    Another question is if you really want to fight your university's administration on this if the actual answer is that such a form is not needed, but your university's administration thinks that it is needed. It sounds like a lot of work for little gain if the process to get it is already streamlined. – DCTLib Apr 12 at 10:25
  • The email came from the administration department. So to make them happy i will need one. My intended question is if in general EU citizens needs the A1 form, de jure or de facto, for any type of business trip in another EU country? To me this seems like a misunderstanding or local interpretation of the EU regulation, that is why i would like to know the experience and interpretation of other frequent travelers. – Hjan Apr 12 at 11:00
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    Can you clarify that you are talking about EU citizens, not residents? Like German, French, Italian citizens living in Germany, vs. Australians, Indians etc. living in Germany? – gnasher729 Apr 13 at 10:12
  • @gnasher729, good point. This concerns all working residents actually, not only citizens – Hjan Apr 15 at 7:52
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Note this answer has been heavily edited in the light of the OP's clarifications; some of the comments below will read better in the context of the earlier versions of this answer, which can be seen in the edit history.

I originally filleted the KPMG advice and the EC regulations to which it refers, but here's the rub: it doesn't actually matter whether your university has a statutory basis for the request. Your employers are entitled to ask you to do things over and above those required by law - that's why they pay you. If the university says you have to get a purple herring each time you go abroad, well, time to start printing purple herring requisition slips and sending them down to the office supplies department. Or the fishmonger.

As for the question

Do EU citizens need an A1 certificate for any business trip in another EU country?

I believe Her Majesty's Government imposes no such statutory requirement; certainly I've never been asked to acquire such a certificate in 20 years of travelling around the EU for business and pleasure. We have our EHIC cards, as I believe you do, but HMG's detailed page on these makes no mention of any need to track each trip to a fellow member state. I suppose that HMG has decided that the costs of tracking which of its citizens is actually abroad and enjoying theoretical foreign insurance cover on any given day vastly outweighs the costs of paying a few improper insurance claims, and they are probably right. It is certainly possible that that puts the UK in incomplete implementation of the regulations, but that's no defence you can use to change your employer's requirements - see above.

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    It also seems to be very doubtful whether the wording "perform work on that employer's behalf" really encompasses activities such as participating in meetings, which have traditionally always been allowed as business activities under (visa or visa-free) entries that come with "no right to work" conditions. KPMG apparently think it does -- but then again they're a consultancy business; they have a vested interest in making their clients think the rules are invasive so they will buy a lot of billable hours. – Henning Makholm Apr 13 at 9:02
  • Your third quote mentions "an attestation". That attestation is the same thing as an "A1 form". It is not something the employee or the employer fills out. (It used to be called E101 instead of A1). – Henning Makholm Apr 13 at 9:06
  • @HenningMakholm the third quote refers to an attestation which the competent institution of the Member State provides to the traveller on request. That's the wrong direction to be an A1 form, or to be the notification mentioned in the second quote. – MadHatter supports Monica Apr 13 at 9:42
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    Why do you think that direction is wrong? Form A1 is exactly something that the home state's institution issues to the employee-to-be-posted. The notification from the traveler ('s employer) mentioned in the second quote is not Form A1. – Henning Makholm Apr 13 at 9:47
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    Come on -- if it's true then we've actually found a benefit of exiting the EU, namely that you will then be able to go on business trips to the EU without worrying about being asked to show an A1. Is that not cause for celebration? – Henning Makholm Apr 15 at 8:52
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+100

There are answers to this question here:

Since EU law stipulates that employees need be insured only once, this certificate is proof of this insurance.

I understand that to make the local administration happy, I should fill a form to request this certificate for every EU travel 2 weeks before traveling to another EU country

  • the goal is the prevention of employees being molested by demands from local insurance companies to prove that they are properly insured
  • The employer will apply for the A1 Certificate when deploying their employee abroad from the employees insurer. The issued A1 Certificate will then be given to the employee to take with them.

Is the interpretation that an A1 certificate is necessary for any small business trip, really correct?

  • It is needed for all employees from one EU country being temporarily deployed (up to 24 Months) to another, which includes small business trips

Maybe it is even necessary to distinguish between how this is handled "de jure", and "de facto".

  • One cause is that it is relatively unknown, because it is relatively new system that envolved due to the difficulty of local health insurances to determine if the employee is exempted from being insured locally

Maybe it is also just some local German interpretation, and many are just coping this interpretation.

  • 2018 the Health Insurance companies (Krankenkassen) in Germany , to avoid a flood of paper applications, started the automation of the issuing of these certificates. Starting 2019, the employers can electronically request them and paper applications can no longer be made since the 1st of July.
  • How the Health Insurance companies in the other EU countries are implementing the 2009 directive, I cannot say

Summary:

The goal is that insurance inspector's can fullfil their duties in insuring that all employees are properly insured and to reduce the misuse of social services.

For an employee (who is already insured in their home country) being temporarily assigned to another country, there is no need to insure them again

  • there are known cases where employees have been send abroad without any insurance at all
  • or where the employer claims that they are, but in reality they are not.

The A1 Certificate is a verification from the insurer that the employee is properly insured by them for work abroad.

Since it is commonplace that the burdon of proof lays by the employee (as apposed to the insurance inspector), the A1 Certificate serves the purpose of supplying this proof.

As for the idea that insurance inspector's are being employed to lurk at refuelling stops or around meeting rooms to check peaples insurance coverage is extremely unrealistic (not to mention cost inefficient).

  • You say "no" to "Is the interpretation that an A1 certificate is necessary for any small business trip, really correct?", but then declare that small business trips are among the things they're needed for? – Chris H Oct 24 at 6:59
  • @ChrisH I am implying that is for all employees deployed abroad, not only for Business trips as the question implies. It is actually indended more for workers being deployed abroad without being insured at all. Am working on a summary that explains the background to the reasons, which I will add to the answer when completed. (and I think I will also remove the 'No, ' portion) – Mark Johnson Oct 24 at 7:19

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