While the return of business travel after the COVID-19 pandemic began with a slow burn, the landscape quickly ignited as 2022 progressed. Companies clearly needed their travelers to be traveling again and travelers welcomed that opportunity after two years of quarantines and lockdowns. International business travel in particular has made a come back in recent months, especially after the United States lifted its requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 before flying to the U.S.
IATA reported that international travel numbers for 2021 were 27% of 2019 levels. They forecasted 2022 to improve to 69%. With this increase in international business travel, many travelers may still have questions about jumping back into jetsetting. It can also be a little confusing as to the new rules, requirements, and regulations for entry and boarding around the world. Use the following tools and resources for your next international business trip.
Visas for International Business Travel
Visa and passport delays are being experienced around the world. The U.S. State Department reports that “U.S. embassies and consulates are working to resume routine visa services … However, the pandemic continues to severely impact the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process.”
They go on to explain that constraints vary based on local conditions and restrictions, but include local and national lockdowns, travel restrictions, host country quarantine regulations, and measures taken by embassies and consulates to contain the spread of COVID-19. This page on their website offers a backlog report.
Similar delays are being seen in other countries. In the United Kingdom, visa applications, which usually take 12 weeks to process, are currently taking up to 24 weeks.
Lean on CIBTvisas
As you seek to get visas for your international business travelers, you might consider using CIBTvisas. They are the leading global travel visa service, focusing on obtaining business and other travel visas for corporations and individuals worldwide in a fast, convenient and secure manner.
Passports for International Business Travel
Travelers needing to renew their passport should start the process sooner rather than later. While the wait time is shorter than last year (Processing times for passport applications were an average of 18 weeks in 2021.), the U.S. State Department is reporting wait times of up to 10 weeks.
International Travel Rules & Requirements
Keeping up with the rules and requirements for entry and exit around the world is like playing a carnival game–it’s a constantly moving target. But rest assured, there are tools available.
In addition to visa assistance, CIBTvisas provides entry and health guidance with accurate, up-to-the-minute regulations for your destination, including COVID-19 and rules for vaccinated travelers. They also have an itinerary review service to provide guidance on how to travel safely and securely.
Christopherson + Sherpa
Use our destination database, created in partnership with Sherpa, to know what documentation or travel requirements exist for your trip. Simply type in your departure and arrival cities to access travel guidelines, entry restrictions, risk levels, quarantine measures, and more for both domestic and international destinations.
8 Tips for International Business Travelers
- Prepare Early – Start the process of obtaining or renewing your passport as far in advance as possible. Remember, your passport should not be set to expire within six months of visiting. Know what the visa requirements are and plan in advance.
- Do Your Homework – Research your destination’s entry rules, vaccine requirements, etc. in advance. Do this again a couple days before departure to be sure nothing has changed.
- Know the Culture – Check with your company’s travel program to see if they offer cultural information about your destinations. Have an understanding of the customs, cuisine, and culture of the place you’re traveling to.
- Have a Communication Plan – Make sure you know what your company wants you to do about an international phone plan.
- Understand Emergency Protocol – Obtain training on your organization’s duty of care policies and risk management plan. Know who to call in an emergency and how to get out of the country quickly if needed.
- Plan Your Baggage, Food, & Water for Travel Days – Know the luggage requirements of your airline. Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on in case your checked bag get delayed. Know when and where you’re going to find meals or snacks.
- Make Copies of Passport – Make copies of your passport and keep separate from the real version. This will be helpful in proving your citizenship if your passport is lost or stolen.
- Register with Your Embassy – It’s always a good idea to register your international travel plans with your home country’s embassy. This is especially true if you’re headed to a country with high crime or political and social unrest.