My employer is telling me that if I have a short work trip to another EU country, I need to carry an A1 certificate (or, as they call it, A1 Bescheinigung) or risk fines.

I will comply, but I thought they're wrong for regular work trips and this applies only when my employer sends me abroad to work there for a longer period (such as a 6 month installment in another EU country). The formulation on gov.uk, or on the websites of the Finnish or Dutch governments appear to imply it's for cross-border workers more so than for short foreign work trips.

But activpayroll actually does claim that:

Under EU Regulation EC 883/2004, all employees who travel to another EU/EEA country on a business trip must obtain A1 certification. This rule applies not only for secondments of up to 2 years, but for stays of any length, including meetings and workshops lasting only hours, or even refuelling stops in another country.

which comes as quite a surprise to me, because in the dozens of work into other EU countries I've done while living in Sweden or the UK (pre-Brexit), I never heard of such a certificate.

Under what circumstances is an A1 certificate a requirement for employees in one EU country travelling for work to another?

  • Can I confirm please that an A1 certificate IS needed for travel for, for example a Field Service agent who is travelling to see a customer to fix a machine? Jan 14, 2021 at 9:57

2 Answers 2


As I understand the issue, the A1 certificate isn't actually a "requirement". EC 883/2004 doesn't even mention such a document.

What really matters in this case are the labour and social security laws in the country you're posted to, and more specifically how they are enforced. The A1 document exempts you from obligations related to these laws, such as paying social security contributions.

In other words, whenever you perform an activity in another member state that would require you to pay social security taxes in that said country, you can only do so either by carrying the A1 certificate or registering as a worker.

In a similar fashion, you would probably need an S1 certificate or private health insurance in another member state where health insurance is mandatory (which is probably the case for all), if you decided to stay there without working for more than 3 months.

A1 certificates can also be issued retroactively and waived for short trips: Germany: Myths and facts around the A1 certificate


Based on the German text the A1 Certificate is nothing more than proof that a person who is being temporary (up to 24 Months) employed outside his home country is properly insured and thus need not be insured again in the country he is working in.

The employer will apply for the A1 Certificate when deploying their employee abroad from the insurer. The employee will take it with them and upon demand show it.

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

The reason this, at present, is relatively unknown is because it is relatively new.

Not stated, but a possible cause for the introduction, is that there were problems in the past where employees deployed were being hasseled by insurer's that wanted proof that could not be supplied. Possible is also that the Employer did not insure that their employees were properly insured for the work abroad.

The A1 Certificate resolves these problems.

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