Friday, March 1

What Do You Need for a Business Trip Abroad?

People travelling for business purposes.

One of the most exciting things about having or working for a company that does business internationally is the possibility of travel. Business trips for negotiations, recruitment, or trade fairs are great opportunities to see the world while pursuing opportunities for your company.

When heading overseas for a business trip, it is important that you have everything you need to make sure that it all goes smoothly.

What paperwork do you need to enter the country? How long does your passport need to be valid?

Business Visa or Travel Authorization?

The first thing you need to look into is the documentation you’ll need to travel to another country. Each country has its own rules for foreign passengers arriving on its shores. The exact requirements usually depend on your nationality.

To do business abroad, you will probably need either a business visa or a visa waiver, also known as a “travel authorization”.

Business visas are usually issued by embassies belonging to the destination country. They come in various forms, depending on the country of issue. Visas can be stamps or stickers in your passport or separate documents.

Some countries have visa waiver schemes for certain nationalities. In many cases, it is necessary to register online for an electronic travel authorization (eTA). This means that you can skip the trip to an embassy to deal with a visa application and authorize your business trip from the comfort of your home.

Of course, if you’re looking to start business operations in another country, you may need a different type of visa. For example, Italy offers investor visas for foreign entrepreneurs.

How to Get an Online Travel Authorization

Electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) are available online. These handy digital systems allow eligible travelers to get permission to visit a country visa-free.

Online visa waivers are becoming more and more popular, as more countries around the world are launching their own systems. An example is the upcoming ETIAS for European countries in the Schengen Area.

Many eTAs permit business trips, although some countries only allow visits for tourism with a visa waiver. It is important to check whether an eTA will cover the needs of your trip before applying.

To get an eTA, all you need to do is fill out the form online. Confirmation and any documents you need to print will be sent by email — often on the very same day.

How to Get a Business Visa

If the country you plan to do business in has no eTA system, or if you are not eligible to use it, you will probably need to get a business visa.

Depending on your destination, there may be different ways to obtain a visa for business.

Traditionally, visas are obtained by going to an embassy or consulate in person and filing an application. You will need all necessary supporting documents to do this. These usually include a valid passport and a cover letter from a company in the country itself, but there are often other documents too.

Alternatively, some countries have online visa systems that allow you to get a visa that permits business activities. These platforms are similar to eTA systems, although you will probably have to upload more supporting documents for a business visa than for a visa waiver.

Make Sure Your Passport Meets Requirements

Once you have a visa or eTA approved, your business trip is authorized! However, there are a few other things you’ll need for the trip to go smoothly.

The most obvious thing is a valid passport. This should be the same one you used to apply for your business visa or visa waiver — if not, the latter will not be valid!

Many countries require foreign passports to have a minimum validity period, such as 6 months from the date of entry. Check the requirements before applying for a visa or eTA.

International travel is an excellent investment and a valid passport that is up to standards is the key to being able to do it.

Stay Up-to-Date With Vaccinations

You may need to take vaccinations to visit certain countries, or at least be up-to-date with routine inoculations.

It is essential that you check what vaccinations are required to enter your destination country and book any jabs that you need in good time.

It may take 4-6 weeks for your body to build up immunity, so make sure you receive any vaccinations you need at least this length of time before the trip.

To stay healthy while abroad, see these clean eating tips for business travelers.

Research Local Etiquette

Before embarking on a business trip in a foreign country, be sure to do your research on the culture and, in particular, how business is conducted there. First impressions are everything and knowing a little about what expect and what is expected of you can go a long way.

Remember that what is acceptable in your country might not be acceptable in others.

Look up how to dress appropriately, whether gifts are typically exchanged in business meetings, if it is expected to shake hands or bow (as in Japan), etc.

Knowing the local business etiquette is key to making a great impression and forging lasting business relationships.

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