Visas: We organise it so you don't have to
Staying up to date on the nitty-gritty of visa and passport regulations can seem like a full-time job in itself. For small businesses with big international travel requirements, especially those outside London, the business case for outsourcing these tasks to a specialist agency is persuasive.
Staying Up to Date with Changes
No matter where the destination, it is important to check if a visa or electronic registration is required.
Even if you have travelled to the destination in the past with no problems, visa regulations change frequently so don’t assume you can automatically travel.
This is an issue that will become even more prescient as we reach Brexit; British travellers may well lose some of their travel rights under agreements for which they currently qualify as European citizens.
Be Aware Different Employees Will Have Different Requirements
One of the big trip-ups companies suffer is not checking the status of their non-British staff. While a British citizen can travel to Paris visa-free at the moment, the same cannot be said for your South African employee, for example. While they may hold a UK visa, they will need a separate Schengen area visa too.
Make Sure You Plan Ahead
Different visas will have different processing times. While it may be possible to expedite visas to certain countries if absolutely necessary, you will suffer some inconvenience and usually pay more for the privilege.
Planning ahead will save you money and stress.
Keep Passports Up to Date Too
Different countries have different requirements under their visa regulations, and some of these will relate to your passport expiry dates. It is therefore important to not only keep records of employees’ visas but also of their passport and renewals processes.
For frequent travellers, you may wish to recommend to them that they apply for two passports. This way, they can still travel under the second passport while their first is being sent off with a visa application. It may well come in handy to have a backup.
Check the Details Before You Send
Read and re-read the details and application forms before you submit them. Are the all the photographs the specified size? Are all the dates and signatures signed? Have you included all the requested supporting documentation? One missing signature can grind the application process to a halt and throw travel plans into disarray.
What Options Are Available to Save Money?
As we’ve already mentioned, planning ahead can help to save you money because you can opt for longer processing time options.
In addition, if travellers are repeatedly visiting a particular destination, it may be more cost-effective to apply for a multi-entry visa rather than a single trip visa. As well as being more convenient for frequent travellers because they will need to send their passport and paperwork off less frequently, this multi-trip option can save you significant application fees.
How Can Your Travel Management Company Help?
Your travel management company (TMC) can help with passport applications, visas and electronic registration applications.
Here at Travel Counsellors we offer a visa checking process as part of our business travel booking services. We’ll keep any eye on your employee profiles, passport expiry dates, visa application processes, visa expiry dates, and manage any update or upgrade applications for you.
That way, if one of the countries your team travels to regularly changes their visa requirements, you won’t get caught out when you arrive at the passport control and find yourself unable to enter the country – or find yourself facing fines because employees have overstayed their welcome.
To find out more about Travel Counsellors visa services, contact us today.
Give us a call on +44 (0) 161 464 5350 or fill in the form below and let us call you back.