Both the direct and indirect coverage of healthcare professionals’ participation costs is subject to a preliminary visa procedure.
There exists two forms of sponsoring :
Sponsorship/invitation of participants in a scientific event (V1)
Situation in which a company invites and/or covers the expenses of healthcare professionals in order to allow them to participate in a scientific event (registration, transport, overnights and/or dinner):
This can be done in a DIRECT or INDIRECT way:
- if the company invites directly an/or pays the costs directly, it is the company that applies for the visa for the participants it sponsors.
- if the company sponsors the participants through a healthcare organisation (hospital, scientific association, etc.), the visa application must be submitted either by the company or jointly by the company and the healthcare organisation.
In all cases, the visa number obtained must then be mentioned in all correspondence exchanged with the said participants in order to enable them to verify the existence of the visa.
This is crucial since they are criminally co-responsible with the company for compliance with the visa procedure.
Sponsorship of the organiser of a scientific event (V2)
Situation in which one or several companies sponsors the organiser of a scientific event by for example covering the costs of flyers, badges, etc.:
In that case it is up to the scientific organiser of the event to submit the visa application, featuring all the event sponsors. The visa number provided then has to be mentioned in any correspondence with the sponsors who have to be able to verify whether their sponsoring is consistent with the relevant legislation and ethical codes. The sponsors are indeed co-responsible with the organisers with regard to the respect of the visa obligation. The visa has to be obtained before any funding is made available to the organiser.
A company inviting a number of participants at the same time has to submit a visa application separate from the collective visa application made for sponsoring the organiser.