Visas and Passports for International Meetings
Making plans to attend a meeting abroad? International travel can be an exciting adventure, but you need to be prepared with all the required documents in order to make your trip as smooth as possible.
Everyone traveling internationally should carry a current passport as it serves as the ultimate proof of your citizenship. Every country issues passports to citizens of that country. Not knowing your destination’s entry and exit requirements—and subsequently being denied passage or deported—is one of the most common travel mistakes, but it’s easily avoidable with some basic research, starting with your destination country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S.
It is important to plan ahead. Visa and passport applications can take up to 12 weeks in some cases.
Americans Traveling Abroad
American citizens are required to have passports to enter and exit the US and all other countries in the world. Passports must be valid for at least six months after planned departure date. Travel visas, however, are not always required.
As of October 1, 2019, United States citizens have access to 184 countries and territories without a travel visa; however they do have different time frames after which a passport is required (30, 60, 90, or 180 days depending on the country). In countries where Visas are not required, it is important to verify what exactly is required for travel, such as proof of return flight and specific passport requirements. Many countries require that your passport contain at least one blank visa page and that it is valid for six months past the date that you will enter the country. Visit CIBT Visas for specific country requirements.
Due to a travel ban imposed in 2017, US citizens are not permitted to travel to North Korea, with our without a visa.
Safeguard Your Documents
Before traveling, make two copies of all your travel documents in case of emergency. Leave one copy with a trusted friend or relative at home and carry the other separately from your original documents. To help prevent theft, do not carry your passport in your back pocket, and keep it separate from your money.
Foreign Nationals Traveling to the United States
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
However, some foreign nationals entering the United States simply to attend a business meeting, convention, or conference can enter the country without a Visa through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which requires a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. Additionally, only citizens of certain countries are eligible for the waiver program. Visit the U.S. Department of State for more information.