Barrier: Potential penalties for business travelers overstaying visas in EU

Story: An Albanian company planning to acquire an EU firm needed to send a team to the company’s four office locations to perform an assessment. This included meeting with management and other staff members in four different EU countries over a period of several weeks, and traveling on business visas.

As EU immigration law prohibits those traveling on these visas to stay in the EU for more than 90 days per year, the company wanted to be sure that no employee involved in the analysis exceeded this time frame. Not only could doing so incur substantial penalties, ranging from approximately €2,000 to €10,000, but employees could be banned from working.

Although the Albanian company’s in-house legal staff handled immigration matters, there was no mechanism for systematically tracking employees who were traveling. The company therefore engaged msi’s Business Travel Compliance Services to provide this. This enabled the automatic receipt of travel information, verification of travel data received from third parties, and from a duty of care perspective, confirmation of arrivals, departures, and exact locations. It also generated notifications to the employee and employer at designated intervals to remind both of the upcoming deadline and departure requirements.

Result: All team members performing the assessment left the EU before the end of the 90 days. Full compliance was achieved and penalties were avoided.