When planning a business trip overseas, some of the most important things to plan for is if there are any specific passport or visa requirements, when to arrange them and do you go ahead with booking your travel arrangements before a visa is confirmed? It’s a dilemma for many business travellers as they weigh up the changing costs of travel with the fact they are reliant on getting the necessary entry permits in place.
By enlisting the help of a Travel Management Company to support your passport and visa applications on your behalf, it will make the process of door to plane much easier. Part of the travel management services we offer as a business travel company, we’ll give you guidance and advice on how to apply, how long it will take, check you have sent the right documents and all the while keep a close watch on your travel itinerary, recommending when you should go ahead and confirm your booking.
Here are 4 reasons why enlisting the help of a business travel agent to help with your VISA application will smooth out the process...
#1 VISA Check
First things first, does the country you are intending to travel to require a Visa? At the moment (pre- Brexit) EU Nationals can travel between many countries without the need of a VISA but what about other areas? A good Travel Management company will set expectations of what is required to travel to a country at the time of enquiry to ensure you get from A-B without a hitch.
#2 Apply In advance
Visa processing times can vary, so, when possible, try to make sure your applications are submitted in good time. Your corporate travel agency can do this on your behalf, liaising with the Visa and passport processing service on your behalf. These services tend to be taken care of by managing the completion, checks and delivery of applications to visa specialists who make personal applications to the embassies. In some cases. especially when travel is urgent and an application is needed to be processed on a quick turnaround time, a courier service (motorbike) has been known to be offered either to the embassy or, when time is even more tight, back to the airport with your documents.
#3 Don't cut corners
You may try to do it yourself and cut corners or cost, but do you want to spend all that time managing a Visa application, and what happens if it goes wrong? You may have to go to the embassy directly yourself! Each visa application is different, with each embassy having their own rules/requirements for photo sizes, additional business letters or information that is required to be submitted before travel. It's all in the details too, ensuring applications are filled in word for word with full names, correct contact numbers, business invitations, even the colour of pen used! Travel Management Companies are the experts when it comes to handling Visa applications and alongside their third-party Visa processing company, will ensure your application will be thoroughly checked before submission.
#4 Pay for a quality service and obtain the best value
“You get what you pay for” this is true for most things in life but especially Visa applications. Costs will vary depending on time so don't try to risk it to save a small amount of money.Doing so may result in loss of flights, accommodation and potential business.
Multi-Entry visas can save more than 3 times the amount of a single entry Visa - so consider your options and how frequently you will be travelling to and from one country, but to do so you will need the right back up invitation from your business sponsor or employee.
#1 Give your business travel agency the full scope of what you are planning from the full itinerary to the ground arrangements and Visas. That way they can manage the balance between committing to costs, whilst also managing the Visa process. This helps you to reduce exposure to cancellation or amendment fees where possible if the Visa application process doesn't run smoothly.
#2 Keep your traveller profile up to date - ensuring your details are correct with your travel management company is key to alleviating potential incidents of expired passports. Be sure to also mention if you have dual citizenship to your business travel agents as this may help your application depending on the country.
#3 Unsure? We recommend that if you are not doing so already, speak to your business travel agent today to discuss these areas of support in more detail.
Hopefully the above will help when processing a Visa application, have any more hints or tips? We’d love to hear from you! let us know in the box below...