By Suzanne Quinson
Travel abroad is an exciting venture that conjures up all kinds of exotic images, whether they consist of swaying palm trees, bell towers soaring above breathtaking cathedrals, or mist-laden fields of heather dotted with hunters in kilts. However, with these anticipatory daydreams come a few dreaded tasks which international travel inevitably requires. One of the bigger of these chores is securing any necessary visas, where applicable. When traveling for business purposes, such as taking a deposition, it is vital that visa requirements be determined early in the planning process, so any necessary visas can be obtained in a timely manner. Take a look at these tips to keep the process stress free and seamless.
- Do you even need a visa? Fingers crossed! Many countries do not require a visa for stays of 90 days or fewer, so you may find yourself murmuring “Merci beaucoup, France!” or “Gracias, Colombia!” as you peruse the entry requirements. You can find those requirements listed on the country information page under the U.S. Passports and International Travel section on the U.S. State Department’s website. Handily, you can also find passport and vaccination requirements, as well as helpful travel tips (safety precautions, for example) on that same page.
- If a visa is required, how long is the process to obtain one? India for years has had a notoriously lengthy visa process, with officials being extremely vigilant to ensure visitors have the correct type of visa as well. This has changed somewhat recently with the introduction of the ETA (electronic travel authorization), which would be suitable for attorneys traveling to India to take depositions. Just make sure to look into the application process should you need to apply for a visa for your deposition travel. Take the advised processing time seriously and allow yourself some cushion as well when applying for any visa. The last thing you want is to delay the deposition because the visa was not obtained in time!
- Hopeful to avoid the whole visa issue altogether? If so, consider other options for taking the deposition. Videoconference or even mobile videoconference (laptop to laptop) could be the way to go! This is a particularly appealing solution if you only have one or maybe two brief depositions. A global court reporting agency can book the videoconference suite in, say, Tel Aviv or Oslo for you, and ensure you have a reporting team in place. Keep in mind, it is always recommended that both the interpreter and reporter be present with the witness for videoconference depositions requiring an interpreter. You will want to give the reporting agency a bit of extra lead time in the event they need to obtain any visas, even if you don’t have to go through that rigmarole yourself.
- There is a special deposition visa required for Japan. This only applies to depositions in Japan, but is worth mentioning in a blog devoted to all things visa! Any non-resident attendee to a deposition in Japan MUST have this special visa. To obtain the deposition visa, the attendee must be listed on the court order and should apply for their deposition visa at least three weeks in advance of the deposition.
Once all visa and any additional travel requirements have been met, take some time to plan a few tourist activities! If you are taking depositions in Helsinki, you must grab a coffee (Fins consume more coffee than any other nation in the world) and check out Design District, with all the art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, and museums. If your case takes you to Hong Kong, get out and sample the street food while exploring the city. There are endless opportunities to create lasting memories outside the deposition room when traveling internationally for depositions. If you have gone through the trouble of securing a visa, you should absolutely make the most of your trip! Ask your court reporter, videographer, and interpreter for recommendations. They will be only too happy to suggest ways to maximize your free time.
Planet Depos has been covering depositions all over the world for nearly two decades. For more information or to schedule international depositions, contact the Planet Depos International team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-433-3767.