An international business trip may cause you to face unexpected challenges – even if you enjoy travelling and promoting your business interests abroad. Travelling within Europe has become more comfortable than ever before: The days of digging up a passport for an upcoming plane trip are over: EU citizens only need to carry a valid identity card. In the event that a flight inside the EU is delayed, EU Regulation 261/2004 will regulate the amount of your compensation
. Business trips outside of the EU may be more complicated, but our pointers will make sure that you’re on the safe side.
Country-specific entry requirements: visa, passport, etc.
It is essential that you find out about the specific entry requirements of the country of your destination prior to your international business trip. You should consider the following points:
- Your visa: generally speaking, you must apply for your visa at the appropriate embassy or consulate general prior to travelling. However, a word of caution: applying for a visa takes time so you should plan accordingly. In order to enquire whether a visa is required and—if so—how long the entire process will take, contact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as well as the specific government agency that will be issuing your visa.
- Your passport: A valid passport is necessary for international business travel, yet in many cases, by no means sufficient. Passports are often required to have a minimum period of validity, such as six months.
- Your driving licence: In the event that you would like to drive while abroad, you should find out whether your UK driving licence is valid in your country of destination. If this is not the case you can apply for an international driving licence. The appropriate agency may vary according to city. You can generally find information concerning this matter on your city’s citizens’ services website.
If need be, you may have to promptly take care of further documents. All relevant information concerning this matter can be found on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s website
Customs regulations: what you can import and export
Customs regulations are yet another important aspect that you will need to take into consideration when travelling abroad. There are certain limits for the import and export of many goods. Many people are aware of the fact that the import and export of cash, tobacco products, and alcohol are often regulated. However, did you know that many countries have their own customs regulations that you are probably not familiar with as a traveller? Accordingly, in Thailand, Buddha figures and images may only be exported with the permission of the Fine Arts Department. It is therefore essential that you enquire which customs regulations apply to the country of your business trip’s destination prior to travelling.
Different countries, different customs: etiquette for international business travel
While most European countries are largely homogenous with regard to prevailing standards of behaviour and courtesy, these standards may differ substantially in other parts of the world. It makes sense to act in accordance with the guiding principle—different countries, different customs. Find out about any possible intercultural differences prior to your business trip, so you can make a lasting good impression on your business partners abroad. Heading to China on your international business trip? Then check out our China etiquette
Ready for anything—how to remain calm in case of an emergency
Regardless of how carefully you have planned your business trip abroad, some nuisances cannot be avoided. Those of you whose credit card was stolen abroad know that initiating all necessary measures in such an emergency is expensive, time-consuming, and by no means pleasurable. You can save yourself a lot of time and stress if you research and document important telephone numbers prior to your departure. The telephone number to report lost or stolen debit or credit cards, your local bank’s telephone number, and the telephone number and address of the UK embassy in your country of destination all belong on your emergency note.