Going to an international location for business can be a fun and exciting time for you and your employees. But it can also be a bit stressful. A successful journey requires a lot of advance preparation. Planning an international adventure trip for your company has a lot of moving parts. You can eliminate one hassle by making sure your employees have all of the right travel documents well before you take off.
The Most Essential Travel Document: a Passport
The passport is perhaps the most challenging of all travel documents, especially if your employees don’t have one. If they do, make sure that they have at least six months left on it before it expires and at least two to four blank pages, since some countries will deny entry if these requirements aren’t met. It is also advisable that your employees make a copy of the passport (as well as other travel documents) to leave with a family member while you are away.
How to Get a Passport
To get their passports, your employees need to fill out an application, have several documents on hand, and apply in person. They will need to have:
- a birth certificate
- some form of photo identification (such as a driver’s license)
- a passport photo (although some passport locations can take a picture for an additional fee)
These documents must be originals. Not even certified copies are permissible.
The application form can be downloaded online and filled out, but it should not be signed. It, and the other required documents should be taken to a building that processes passports, such as the post office or the DMV.
Costs vary for passports. A brand new passport costs between $135 and $165. For renewals, the price is between $110 and $140. Once the documents have been accepted and the fees paid, there is a waiting period of anywhere between four weeks all the way up to 10 weeks. The time frame depends upon the time of year. Status of the passport can usually be tracked online.
If a passport needs to be expedited, an appointment needs to be made with a regional passport agency. All the same documents are needed and the time frame is still two to three weeks.
Not having a passport could cause massive delays with your trip. The process is quite complex and takes at least a month to complete, so make sure all of your employees have a passport NOW so they can start the process immediately.
Other Travel Documents
Other documents that should be kept in your employees’ personal bag include their airline tickets, hotel confirmation, and their trip itinerary. An international driver’s permit may also come in handy if your employees need to rent a car. Many countries don’t recognize a US driver’s license, and an IDP is valid in over 150 countries. It contains the name, driver information, and picture of the holder translated into ten different languages.
Take note: the TSA will be changing ID regulations in 2018. Read more about how the new TSA ID regulations are changing the traveling game so you and your team can be fully prepared when the changes go into effect!
Optional Documents: a Visa
There are several other documents that you should ensure your employees have. Some countries, such as many throughout Asia, require a visa on top of a passport. Other countries require a visa if business is to last beyond a certain number of days. Rules for visas vary from country to country so it is important to call the consulate ahead of time to find out what documents are needed.
An international trip is an exciting time, but it can also be the source of a lot of stress if your employees aren’t well prepared. Make sure they have all of the necessary documents prior to the big day plus the right traveling abroad tips to help make planning a lot easier. And for more help planning your international adventure, and making sure you have everything you need, contact MTI Events. Together we can plan a successful trip your employees won’t forget!