Denied entry at border can mean losing business

It doesn’t happen often, but this week we had a client that wasn’t allowed to pass the border control in Sweden. 

Did this come as a surprise to us?  


Not that he stopped at customs, but that he was traveling in spite of our recommendations. 

Are we typically hardline § orthodox in our interpretation of the law? 

No, we never create obstacles that aren’t there. Sometimes, we absolutely agree that some limitations shouldn’t be there, yet our best advice is to not push the envelope with immigration. The consequences aren’t worth it. 

So how can you plan for safe travels and legal entry? 

  1. Talk to an expert rather than rely on a google search
  2. Business Visa activities are far stricter than we’d all like them to be. Don’t risk big problems for small-time savings in lieu of getting an appropriate visa

Not everything can be planned, structured and emergencies happen. Also when crucial opportunities open up, an in-person meeting may be required for confidentiality issues not least.  How do smart companies make sure they are able to travel on short notice? 

So how can companies think about this? 

How can you keep your options open without spending too much money and effort in achieving them? 

For non-EU nationals with frequent or even just important business in the Schengen area, it’s a good idea to identify the person/s that should be ready to travel in case it’s needed and get a Schengen Visa. While this may not be possible as long as the travel bans are being implemented on short notice, when borders open up again it will be an option. An invitation is usually needed so if you have a client that may need fast action from your side, ask for an invite so you can be ready to travel without delay in such a case.  

In other parts of the world, there are also pan-visas available for travel within the region. Multiple country visas that allow travel to several countries can be a good idea to invest in multiple entry and multiple countries in case you have business in more than one country in a region. For instance, if you may enter Canada, you are also allowed to enter Mexico, Macedonia, Cuba, and more. 

If a project goes downhill or a great opportunity arises you don’t want to wait for two weeks until you can be there in person. Along with a possible quarantine of 5-21 days, the moment will have passed by the time you are on the ground. 

While some took chances, pre-pandemic, we see very little of this these days. Everyone is acutely aware that the border controls will look carefully at more than the passport. Now it’s all about PCR tests and even a slight suspicion that someone doesn’t have a real reason to enter the country will cause questions. Sweden, unlike many other countries, doesn’t have Covid-19 exceptions. It has been business as usual for the Migration Agency and while we have clients that come from countries that won’t even allow their own nationals to return few exceptions are made. 

So to sum it up. Apply early even if there’s an off-chance for travel. It’s better to be safe than sorry and pandemic times require special measures. 

When you don’t know what to do. 

Ask an expert that can help. 

It’s what experts do all day. 

Remember that it’s better to “prepare and prevent than to repair and repent” 

Amazing business opportunities can still be found across borders in a pandemic and what can be done remotely is far more than we used to think, yet when a real meeting needs to take place be ready. It can be a deal-breaker and why not be poised to win? 

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