The United States of America is the world’s largest economy, so if your business operates globally, it’s likely to have an office there.
America is the land of opportunity and a great place to start taking your business offshore. This article covers some of the must-do tips to prepare for your business trip to the US as a visitor.
The information mentioned below is generic and not considered absolutely accurate for all US entries; please do your own research before you travel.
Gone are the days of travel simplicity. To get into the US, you need accurate travel documents. If you’re from Canada, Mexico, or Bermuda, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, covers the US entry requirements for travelers with passports from those nations.
For all other non-US passport holders, an international passport is required for all visitor stays in the US. Your ticket must be valid before you travel and remain so once you return home for at least six months.
America has a visa waiver program with 38 countries, so if you have a passport from one of these countries, you’re in luck, as no visa will be required for your visit to the US.
The visa waiver program is called the ESTA (electronic system for travel authorization), and it’s an automated system that assesses and decides eligibility for US entry. This application must be completed at least 72 hours before your travel, and there is a small fee. You won’t get past check-in if you choose to travel with it. If you’re a citizen or passport holder of Canada, Mexico, or Bermuda, you don’t need ESTA clearance for visiting the US.
If you’re from a country on the ESTA list, like China, Turkey, or Russia, you will need a visa for assessment by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon entry. A ticket does not guarantee access; it merely confirms your eligibility to seek admission. Mostly, you have the documents required to travel and be assessed at customs upon arrival.
Making The Most Of Your US Stay
To have a fantastic business trip to the US and make the most of your free time, prepare well before your arrival.
Depending on your location, there will be many sights to see and activities to do, especially if it’s your first trip to the area. Also, consider traveling to the US near the weekend to have two leisure days, including short overnight stays in nearby towns or cities. For example, traveling to New York, you can take Boston by train. The three-hour journey between the two cities a great way to take in another city during your short visit.
Utilize your time efficiently from when you rise to when you retire for the day. Top of your list is the purpose of your visit, i.e., it’s primarily a business trip. Therefore, what are your goals for a visit? Plan for success and recognize each milestone reached to gauge the return on the investment.
With technology enabling business activity to be done online and including business meetings via video chat apps like Skype, never before has there been the need for more justification for any business trip requiring travel and accommodation investment. Plus, there is added pressure on businesses to cut down business travel to save the planet.
Businesses must show their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, which discerning customers require as a reason to do business with a company.
Spending a dollar to earn three dollars is a rough guide to assessing ROI on business trips.