What is a European
A1 certificate?

An A1 certificate is a form used to confirm the country in which an employee or visitor currently pays for their social security contributions. If an individual will be travelling for work, as a posted worker or for business visits in another EU member state, they will be required to have an A1 certificate before they travel.

Within EU policy, an individual can only be subject to one country’s social security at a time. A1 certificates are typically considered when an individual is travelling to work or visiting for business and will therefore be subject to social security contributions in their host country as well as their home country.

The Posted Workers Directive explains that an employee temporarily working or visiting another EU/EEA member state would normally be required to pay local NICs (social security) of that member state on the day of arrival. However, by using an A1 certificate, (required in all EU and EEA countries plus Switzerland) the employee can evidence their current social security contributions so that they are not obliged to pay social insurance contributions elsewhere.

Using an A1 certificate to evidence these contributions only applies if the worker can prove they already pay social security in their home state – for instance already making such payments in the UK.

Who needs an A1 certificate?

If you are travelling to the EU for business or work, including whether you are a business visitor of posted worker, you will need an A1 certificate. This also applies to both self-employed professionals and those on assignment.

The process

Employers tend to be responsible for facilitating and applying for A1 certificates on behalf of their employees.

In order to continue to be covered by the social security system in your home country, your employer must request a PD A1 form from the social security institution in your home country and inform the relevant host country´s authorities ahead of anticipated travel.

For every applicable trip, a traveller needs an A1 form. The application usually involves an online form and requires submitting the employee’s personal information.

Validity of A1 certificate of coverage

A1 certificates are usually valid for a period of 24 months, although the validity of each certificate can also depend of the length of time the individual intends to visit that member state.


The main benefit is that employers and employees usually remain covered by their own country’s social security system.  By being covered from your own country, you will not need to pay social insurance contributions in the country you intend to temporarily work and live in.

Find out more

If you require more information on A1 certificates, our global immigration team here at SSW can provide further insight. Please contact our in-house immigration experts who will be able to assist with any questions you may have.

With the support of our global network, we are able to offer help every step of the way, from initial queries to guiding clients through the process and meeting immigration rules thereafter.

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