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Working abroad in the EU? Do not forget A1 certificate!

Today I would like to briefly remind you of something that probably 99.9% of self-employed people and employers have not heard of. For business trips to EU / EFTA countries, a so-called “A1 certificate” must be carried for several years. Never heard of it? No problem. I think you’re in good company.

However, since 2019, the obligation to do so has become more relevant and it applies not only to employees, but also to self-employed people, and regardless of whether you travel 2 hours to a client in Switzerland, attend a conference in France or pursue a project in another EU country for a longer period of time. Inspections by the authorities now sometimes result in hefty fines. While employers, for example esport teams for their players participating in a tournament abroad in the EU, or software developers who send employed programmers to the customer, have been able to apply for this certificate obligatorily (due to an EU regulation) only electronically since January 1, 2019, self-employed persons must continue to do so in paper form. Self-employed persons in this context are all commercial traders and freelancers, whether lawyers, marketing consultants, streamers, programmers or other persons who carry out the trip for professional reasons. In addition to the EU countries, the obligation also applies to Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 90 days also for Great Britain 😉

The whole thing is to prevent social security fraud and therefore to certify to foreign social authorities which social system is responsible for the traveler/worker.

As an employer, the application usually requires the same person who otherwise does the payroll certifications, because a certified payroll program is required for the application. The competent institution will then send the certificate, also electronically, and as an employee, it must then be carried.

Self-employed persons can/must fill out the form electronically here and send it to their own health insurance company with which one is insured. Additional guidance for other carriers can also be found on the form.

The regulations regarding the A1 certificate have just been tightened and the discussions regarding increasing social security fraud are growing in many countries. It’s hard for me to say what the risk of control is. The likelihood of this is probably greater for a self-employed craftsman working on construction abroad than for a web designer working from the Starbucks in Rome. On the other hand, applying for the certificate is not too much of a hassle either.

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Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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