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When is it More than a Meeting? Tips for Business Travelers

October 29, 2017

A common question that arises for business travelers is whether their intended activities in a foreign country are permissible on a business visitor visa, or whether a work permit is required for their trip.

The following activities are generally permissible as a business visitor:

  • Business meetings with colleagues
  • Attending training sessions or conferences
  • Consultations or business meeting with clients
  • Negotiations with current or prospective clients
  • Fact-finding missions
  • Knowledge transfer sessions

Although countries vary slightly, work permits are usually required when a traveler performs hands-on work such as:

  • Building and developing products
  • Providing technical hands-on assistance
  • Designing infrastructure
  • Testing and building use cases
  • Fixing or troubleshooting software

Tips for Frequent Travelers

  • The frequency of travel: Frequent trips to the same country increases the risk of being questioned about the purpose of the business trip.
  • Schengen Area- 90-day limit: A traveler is limited to 90 days cumulatively within a 6 month period as a visitor for business or tourism purposes.
  • Duration is a factor: Although not as important as the scope of activities, length of a trip can be a factor. EIG recommends business trips be limited to four to six weeks per trip. Longer business trips of six to eight weeks should be accompanied by a detailed travel schedule broken down into weekly increments.
  • Visa and entry requirements change: Some countries have implemented electronic travel authorizations even for visitors who do not require a visa. Make sure to check the travel requirements for the destination country before planning a business trip.

Most importantly, Compliance is key!

Remember, it is important for business travelers to inform their Global Mobility and Immigration departments well in advance of any planned trip. We can only help if we know your plans.