However, job hunters are often unsure of how to work in Europe, specifically the type of visa or work permit they require to accept employment in the EU.

Different types of permits are available depending on several factors including the:

  • Employee’s country of origin
  • Destination country
  • Type of work to be carried out

Non-EU citizens applying for a job in Europe should familiarise themselves with the various permits available for work and business in Europe.

Who needs a visa to work in Europe?

Americans do not need an employment visa to enter Europe. They can cross the border visa-free with ETIAS but will need to apply for a work permit within 3 months of arrival.

For highly qualified individuals, the European Blue Card is the most convenient option as this single permit grants access to almost all EU countries.

Foreigners who do not qualify for the blue card or visa-free access to Europe should check the visa requirements of the individual EU country where they wish to work. Policies and requirements differ between nations.

European Blue Card for non-EU workers

The European Blue Card is a permit that allows non-EU citizens to work in 25 of the 27 EU Member States. The European Blue Card was devised to attract overseas talent and encourage professionals from outside Europe to come to the EU to work.

The advantage of the Blue Card is that workers are not limited to one EU country, instead they can reside and work in 25 nations.

European Blue Card requirements

In order to qualify for the European Blue Card, the following conditions must be met:

  • Citizen of a non-EU country
  • Have a work contract of at least 1-year for a highly qualified job
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements for the Member State

Work visa for individual European countries

US citizens who do not qualify for the Blue Card need to get a work visa for Europe.

Employment visa requirements differ from country to country and the application process in each case is also distinct. The general requirements include the following:

  • Passport
  • Passport-style photo
  • Work contract which covers minimum economic funds
  • Medical certificate

ETIAS for business activities in Europe

Thanks to the EU’s visa liberalisation policy, Americans can stay in Europe for up to 3 months visa-free. This means that US travellers can apply for a work permit once they have arrived in Europe.

From 2022, an ETIAS visa waiver will be required to cross the external Schengen Area border. This travel authorisation is obtained online and is valid for the entire region.

ETIAS is useful for attending interviews and speaking with potential employers before a work contract is signed. It is not possible to use ETIAS for work. To accept employment a permit or visa is required.

Attend meetings and conferences with ETIAS

Europe’s visa waiver is the best solution for business people employed in the US but travelling to Europe to attend meetings, conferences, and other events. ETIAS is valid for business activities that do not exceed the 90-day limit.

Many important conferences and trade shows take place across Europe each year and are well attended by US businesses. One example is the MWC Barcelona (Mobile World Congress), around 100,000 people arrive in Spain for the technological event.

As the conference lasts just a few days, attendees can apply for ETIAS. What’s more, visitors can take the opportunity to visit the city and other areas of the country.

In addition, most ETIAS applications are approved almost immediately which makes it possible to attend last-minute meetings across the pond.

The ETIAS visa waiver is valid for 3 years and multiple-entry, or until the passport expires. Business people can return to Europe for several short stays without the need to reapply.

Schengen visa for business activity in Europe

Third-country nationals who are not eligible for ETIAS should apply for a Schengen visa to visit Europe on business.

To request a visa it is necessary to make an appointment at a Schengen country embassy or consulate. A Schengen visa is also valid for short stays, up to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.

Documents required to do business in Europe with ETIAS

Just a valid passport is required for business travellers applying for ETIAS. The passport must be biometric and valid for at least 3 months from the date of arrival in the Schengen Area.

ETIAS applicants should complete the online form with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Nationality
  • Passport number and expiry date

A few health and ETIAS security questions complete the form. Business people should ensure all the information provided is accurate and error-free, any mistakes or missing information may lead to delays.

The ETIAS fees are paid using a credit or debit card before submitting the request.