Foreign Business Travel Requirements
All international travelers are required to have proper documentation before leaving the United States. You must have a current U.S. passport, visas from certain host countries, and—in some instances—vaccination records.
Start preparing early. Businesses should allow at least 6 to 8 weeks to acquire all the necessary documents.
All travel outside the United States and its possessions requires a valid U.S. passport. Information is available from the nearest local passport office. You can also get information on passports, applications, and renewals from the U.S. Department of State. If you are in a hurry, express service is available for a fee.
Many countries require visas, which cannot be obtained through the U.S. Passport Services Directorate. Visas are provided by a foreign country’s embassy or consulate in the United States for a small fee. You must have a current U.S. passport to obtain a visa, and in many cases, a recent photo is required. Allow several weeks to obtain visas, especially if you are traveling to developing nations.
Some foreign countries require visas for business travel, but not for tourist travel. When you request visas from a consulate or an embassy, you should notify the authorities that you will be conducting business.
Check visa requirements each time you travel to a country, since regulations change periodically.
Requirements for vaccinations differ by country. Although there may not be any restrictions on direct travel to and from the United States, there may be restrictions if you travel indirectly and stop over in another country before reaching your final destination. Although not required, vaccinations against typhus, typhoid, and other diseases are advisable. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for current conditions by country and region.
Because foreign customs regulations vary by country, find out which regulations apply to each country you plan to visit.
If you’re bringing a product for demonstration or sample purposes, an ATA carnet may be helpful.
Find out if there are travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State for the countries you plan to visit. Advisories alert travelers to potentially dangerous in-country situations.
Prepare for different weather conditions. Seasonal weather conditions in the countries could be different from conditions at home.
Address health care issues. Plan appropriately with respect to prescription drugs, health insurance, vaccinations, and other matters, including dietary needs and preferences.
Think about money. U.S. banks can provide a list of automatic teller machines overseas, exchange rates, and traveler’s checks.