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A group of employees happily discussing their business trip plans before applying for a business travel visa.

International business trips: supporting your employees

Expanding a company requires venturing into new business opportunities and uncharted territories, making business travel crucial to company growth.

Business trips are more than just conferences and meetings. They're also a strategic investment in your company's revenue and employees' professional development. Approximately 77% of employees say business travel inspires and motivates them, which shows that travel benefits go far beyond client discussions in remote offices and closing deals. In addition to the potential increase in productivity, studies show companies can gain as much as $12.50 of additional revenue for every $1 spent on business trips. 

Of course, traveling internationally for business means extra paperwork and securing business trip visas. Additionally, you'll need to review all the essential information you need before you start planning.

What are the different types of business trips?

In the US, an estimated 1.3 million professionals travel daily for business. Globally, there are around 445 million business trips annually.

Before organizing your next business trip, let's examine the different types of business trips and the benefits of each. 

  • Business meetings: These brief, focused trips involve essential discussions and can take the form of meeting clients, closing a deal, or attending a conference, among other needs. Generally, they mean your team members maximize their time and produce results fast. Business meetings can also help your company by providing effective networking and relationship-building opportunities.
  • Mid-term assignments: These assignments typically require your employees to work on-site for a few weeks or up to several months. This extended time provides opportunities to open new offices, strengthen partnerships, and train staff. Such immersive experiences can also foster stronger connections with colleagues and clients or support professional growth.
  • Office check-ins: For organizations with multiple locations, sending employees to conduct regular check-ins can strengthen cohesion, facilitate knowledge sharing, and reinforce the company culture. This type of travel also enables your team members to feel more connected to your company's goals, vision, and mission.
  • Offsite/team building: Offsite events and team-building trips focus on nurturing camaraderie and enhancing your team's morale. These experiences can unlock your team's full potential while creating lasting memories that can help further unite your workforce.

Business travel visa needs

Of course, if your employees travel internationally, securing business trip visas is essential. However, to reap the benefits of business travel, you must consider the rules and regulations of each destination and ensure your employees have the appropriate documents.

Let's delve into the things you need to consider when applying for a business trip visa, especially for popular business travel destinations:

Different countries' visa requirements

Each country has its own unique visa requirements. For example, Germany offers a business visa for short-term travel (up to 90 days), while the U.K. has a Standard Visitor visa for business purposes. The U.S. requires a B-1 visa for temporary business visits. And the Schengen Area, which encompasses most of the EU, requires non-EU nationals to obtain a Schengen Business visa

Who needs a business travel visa, and when?

Visa requirements for business trips depend on several factors. First, consider your employees' citizenship, the destination, and the length of the trip. The good news is that some countries have visa-exempt agreements with other countries. For example, if your employees are U.S. citizens, they're not required to apply for a business trip visa when traveling to Singapore, especially if it's only for short-term stays. However, the same is not true if your employees hold a Singapore passport since they will need a U.S. B-1 Visa for business travel. This is where talking with an immigration partner can save time and potential trouble. Looking into these requirements in advance will ensure your team's business trip will be stress-free and productive.

What are the requirements for a travel visa?

Visa requirements vary depending on your team's destination and length of stay. In general, for a business trip visa, your employee will need a valid passport and sufficient financial resources to support the trip - which can be proven by suppling a formal document that states the company will ensure financial support throughout the trip. Additionally, employees may need to submit a detailed itinerary and valid travel insurance.

Take note that some countries may also require an invitation letter from the host organization or your company, as the employer, outlining the trip's purpose.

Factors to keep in mind when planning a business trip

When planning a business trip, it's crucial to note all the factors that could potentially impact its success and cost-effectiveness. Before applying for a business trip visa and organizing your employees' trip, consider the following:

  1. Purpose of the trip: Ensure the trip's primary purpose is clear and aligned with your company's KPIs. As much as possible, travel only when necessary, and try to hit as many relevant objectives to make the most of each business trip. 
  2. Cost: Assess travel fees, such as business travel visa applications, accommodation, local transportation, meals, and even daily miscellaneous expenses, to ensure the trip remains within your company's budget.
  3. Travel duration: To maximize your employees' productivity and engagement during the trip, aim for flights with the shortest durations to reduce travel time, fatigue, and stress. You might also consider upgrading your employees' accommodations for long-haul flights. Evaluate scheduled departures, arrivals, and potential impact on working days. 
  4. Language barriers and cultural considerations: Consider the language and culture of the destination. You may need to include someone in your team who is fluent in the destination country's primary language and cultural expecations for more effective communication.  Alternatively, you could hire a professional interpreter to ensure negotiations are not lost in translation or derailed by a cultural faux pas. 

How to support your employees while traveling for business

When organizing a business trip, be sure to provide your employees with essential tools and resources to ensure their trip is as smooth and efficient as possible. This may include:

  • A clear travel policy that outlines guidelines and procedures
  • A budget for daily expenses, such as meals and transportation
  • Access to essential documents, such as insurance policies and emergency contact information

Organizing international business travel can be a complicated process, and there are potential risks. To prioritize the safety and well-being of your employees, you can:

  • Provide travel safety training, covering topics like emergency procedures and local customs
  • Offer travel insurance to cover potential medical expenses and emergencies, such as flight cancellations or lost luggage
  • Develop a system for checking in on employees regularly to ensure their well-being
  • Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance by allocating time for rest and personal activities

Maintaining employee productivity during business trips can be challenging, but you can support your employees from the start. Consider establishing clear expectations for work output and communication. Additionally, you may also schedule regular check-ins to discuss progress and address any challenges. 

Maximize the benefit of business trips with Localyze

Business travel offers numerous advantages for organizations and employees, from strengthening client relations to closing deals and boosting team morale. To maximize the benefits of business travel, be sure to obtain the necessary travel documents, including business trip visas, and provide ample support to your employees while they're on the road.

For a seamless business travel experience and efficient business trip visa processing, book a demo and partner with Localyze. Our team of experts can assist with visa applications to ensure your employees have everything they need to make the most of their business trips. Reach out today to discuss how we can unlock the full potential of business travel for your team.

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