US Business Travel to overseas may be a necessary evil in the world of international
trade and import from China. However, thanks to modern technology, you can accomplish
a lot without ever having to get on a plane. Many international business decisions
can be made through fax, mail, phone, and Internet meeting technology. You can utilize
the services of an import agent who could be doing the traveling on your behalf.
If your organization is large enough, you can delegate the traveling abroad assignments
to someone else working for you.
There will be situations that will require you or someone representing you to be
in the foreign country. Here are some of those situations:
Finding a new supplier especially for unique products.
Build a relationship with the supplier or the shipper.
Receive legal advice in the country of origin.
Provide technical expertise or training on site.
Negotiate a complex contract.
Research culture pertaining to the imported product.
International Travel Requirements
All US residences require a passport to travel overseas. This will permit them to
leave and return to the US. At the same time, a Visa may be required to visit the
foreign country. If you do not have a US Passport, then you need to apply for one
before you apply for a visa.
You can apply for a US passport by going to your local United States Postal Service.
You'll need to bring a completed application, proof of citizenship, proof of identity,
two professional photographs, and the application fee. It takes several weeks to
process your application. So apply early.
A Visa is an approval or stamp on your US passport by a foreign government that allows
you as a US citizen to travel to the foreign country for a specific amount of time.
An example is a three month tourist visa.
You can obtain a Travel Visa by going to the foreign country's embassy or consulate
in your local city. A Visa is required before you leave the United States. Typically,
you'll need to fill out an application, bring photographs, and sometimes an application
Your country of destination during your international travel may permit entry via
a Tourist Card. It is easier to obtain a Tourist Card than a Visa. Be sure to check
with the embassy. Beware that the Tourist Card does not give you the right to conduct
business in the foreign country. The Tourist Card is strictly for touring purposes
Some countries will require that you have been vaccinated against certain diseases
prior to entry. Examples of such diseases as approved by the World Health Organization
are yellow fever and cholera. If evidence of prior vaccination is required, then
you need to have it on an official International Certificate of Vaccinations such
as Booklet PHS-731. These forms are available from your medial office or from the
U.S. Government Printing Office.
Other countries may ask for proof that you are negative for the HIV virus. The requirements
vary by country with some limiting it to applicants for residence or temporary visitors.
Although some countries will accept HIV test results from the U.S., other countries
may require that you are tested upon arrival. So be sure to check with the embassy
to prevent any surprises.
Bringing Money with You
Although it is legal to bring American money in and out of the country, there is
a $10,000 U.S. limit that you can transport per visit without making any declarations.
Bringing in more than $10,000 will require that you fill out a Customs Form 4790.
As an Importer wishing to import from China, you need to plan accordingly for a trip
abroad. US business travel within domestic US is very different than traveling
abroad. Your overseas trip is vital to starting your import business. Make sure
that your trip to China or any other country is as successful as it can be.