Businesses today have the unprecedented opportunity of working in a global marketplace, and while this means that business options are vastly increased, it also means that the requirement for international travel has rocketed too.

In 2013, research by Oxford Economics found that for every dollar spent on international travel, it returned a $9.50 revenue and $2.90 profit, and the figures have continued to increase since. Half of businesses have stated that they have lost clients and contracts due to a lack of face-to-face communication; you can see how important international travel is to businesses. Although technological innovations such as Skype make digital communications possible (albeit through a screen), nothing it seems is as profitable as the human connection.

So, if you are facing the prospect of an international business trip, here’s a guide to working in a different country:

Travel documents

Always make sure that you have the correct travel documents to allow safe passage abroad. Each country has different legal requirements to enter. Some countries, for example, will need 6 months remaining on your live passport, and others require specialist visas. Do your homework! You do not want to have your trip aborted due to an avoidable administration error.


If you are working overseas for an extended period, you need to ensure that you can be paid for the duration of your employment. This can mean that it is better for you to open a bank account in the hosting country and will help to avoid banking charges for exchanging from dollars to the local currency. You must make sure that you keep records of your income as you are subject to US income tax no matter where you reside.


Every country is regulated by laws that you must follow. Ignorance is no protection from a violation of the regulations. This is not just applicable to your downtime, but during business hours too. It is best to play on the side of caution to avoid breaching any laws that you are unfamiliar with, for example, can give you advice to mitigate the risk of breaking employment law.

Language, Customs and Culture

Even if you are going to be working in an English-speaking country, people make the error of assuming the culture is the same as at home. It is worth investing time to understand the culture and customs of the hosting country. It can be easy to make a gesture out of kindness and respect but inadvertently cause offence.

Working overseas used to be exclusively for the high-flying executives, but now it is more accessible to those lower down on the career ladder. Your trip abroad can really boost your skills and provide you with an opportunity to network on an international level, so remember to represent your company and yourself to the best of your ability. To make the most of your time working abroad, it is imperative that you have the correct travel documents, and research the local laws, customs and culture.


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