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How To Plan The Perfect International Deposition

How To Plan The Perfect International Deposition

How To Plan An International DepositionThere are three main components to a full preparation and smooth process that need to be taken into consideration when you are planning an international deposition. First, you must understand international depositions in general, and specifically for the country (or countries!) where you will be taking your deposition(s). Second, proper preparation for international travel is a must. Third, consideration of local culture and societal norms will ensure your trip and deposition go according to plan.

Understand the Deposition Process Abroad

The first, and most important, aspect of the perfect international deposition is gaining an understanding of the entire process involved. Checklists are a handy tool for organization and are certainly useful when it comes to scheduling your deposition. They are a great way to structure a project, stay on task, and boost productivity. Your court reporting company should be able to provide you with all the important points you need to know and how far out you should be preparing.

To get you started, here is our quick checklist when scheduling a deposition abroad:

  1. Can you take a deposition in the country in question? 

This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s one that many don’t realize they should be checking. Verify the local laws governing depositions before you do anything else. You may find your planned country doesn’t even allow a deposition to take place and you’ll need to move it elsewhere.

  1. Does your state allow depositions in a foreign country?

Another obvious point, but one worth mentioning. You need to ensure that your state’s code of civil procedure authorizes the taking of depositions in a foreign country. If it doesn’t, you may need to have your witness come to you.

  1. Determine if the witness is a willing witness.

If the witness is willing, fantastic!  You can move forward per the country’s requirements.  If the witness is unwilling, it gets a little more complicated.  You will need either a Letter of Request or a Letter Rogatory to compel the witness to testify.  Letters of Request are submitted in cases where the country is a party to The Hague Evidence Convention.  Letters Rogatory are submitted in cases where no treaty exists with the foreign government.  Each letter is asking assistance from a judicial authority in compelling the witness to testify.  Each letter typically takes a year to process once sent to the appropriate authority.

  1. Check out the travel requirements.

Now we start to get into the meat-and-potatoes. You verified you can take a deposition abroad, so you need to check out the visa requirements.  Does your planned country require a travel visa or a deposition visa? How long does that process take? We find it’s often two to six weeks, so be sure you’re checking this early. You will also want to verify your passport validity.  It’s always recommended that your passport is valid for at least six months before embarking on any international travel. Finally, be sure to see if you need to update any of your vaccines.

  1. Discuss the administration of the oath.

It is highly probable that if the reporter/notary is administering the oath, they are outside their jurisdiction in a deposition taking place overseas.  In that event, there are options to be considered.

  • Counsel can stipulate that they understand the reporter is not authorized to administer the oath in (insert country) but would like him/her to administer the oath. Additionally, counsel stipulates that they waive any objection to the validity of the deposition based on the authority to administer the oath.
  • Apply to the court for a Commission to Administer Oaths.
  • Hire a notary to administer the oath (this option may not be available in all countries and will involve additional fees).
  1. Determine the court reporting services you will need.

Do you need a U.S.-trained court reporter on site when conducting the deposition? What about a videographer? Will you require an interpreter, and in what dialect will they need to be fluent? While those are the big questions, you should also consider what kind of on-the-ground support you may need. Services such as printing and shredding can come in handy. You may also want to look into videoconference options and realtime reporting.

  1. Identify your preferred location and lock in deposition dates.

Your deposition location may depend on the country in which you’re deposing. Some countries, such as Japan and Germany, require depositions to be taken within the U.S Consulate or Embassy. Due to those restrictions, rooms book quickly, so be sure you know ahead of time. For other countries, you may be able to take the deposition anywhere, such as a hotel or office. It’s important to know the number of attendees and the types of refreshments available. When scheduling you will need to lock in the date, start time, and end times. Keep in mind, depending on location, hours for depositions may be restrictive, meaning extra days could be needed. In addition, interpreted depositions necessarily take approximately twice as long as non-interpreted depositions.

  1. Peruse a “cheat sheet” of the local culture.

You should know at least basic formalities.  How do people greet one another?  Are there any glaring “absolutely under no circumstances do this” etiquette faux pas to avoid at all costs?  E.g., in Japan, do not crumble up someone’s business card, shove it in your pocket, or write on it!  You don’t want to come across as rude or ignorant, so do take the time to do a little research.  Remember, you are the visitor, and it’s your responsibility to learn what behaviors to avoid, and how to ingratiate yourself to people you encounter.  You’ll get a lot more out of your trip this way!

This checklist serves as an outline to the process of handling an international deposition. To start the checkmarks flying, dig into the State Department’s website to find out if/where your particular depositions can be held.

It's important to plan for your international travel

Proper Preparation For International Travel

Proper preparation for your trip abroad means checking your passport, checking visa requirements, vaccination requirements, travel time, and planning to allow adequate recovery from jet lag!  The very first step is to make certain that your passport is valid for at least six months past the planned departure date.  This should be the case before any international travel, not just deposition travel.  Some countries will bar entry to those with less than six months’ validity on their passport, so take this guideline seriously.  At the same time, check the visa requirement, process of obtaining said visa, and processing time.

You should also look into essential things like recommended or required vaccines, as well as travel time involved in reaching your destination, and the time change.  When allotting time for travel, remember the very real possibility of delayed flights and other common travel horrors.  Plan extra time for these contingencies, as well as jet lag recuperation!  Allowing time for your body to adjust to time changes will make you much more comfortable and alert on your trip.  Vaccines will keep you healthy, as different areas of the globe are subject to different health risks.

Know the Local Culture and Societal Norms

Culture plays a big role in all interactions.  We typically aren’t even aware of it until interacting with a different culture.  In a foreign country, you will be very aware of the differences.  Preparing ahead of your trip will help you feel a bit less like a fish out of water and can also help with important details like phrasing your questions for more prompt and informative answers.  For example, if someone is of a culture not given to elaboration or speaking about oneself, you may need to word your questions differently and more probingly than for a person from a very open, chatty culture.

Additionally, knowing the local culture makes your time abroad much more enjoyable.  It can be uncomfortable to be in a strange place, not speaking the language and everything you do seems to put off the natives.  This is easily avoided!  As a bonus, having at least a basic understanding of the culture and the history, too, can take your trip from strictly business to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit one-of-a-kind sites, eat exotic and delicious treats, and create wonderful memories.

 

Conclusion

With preparation for your international depositions complete, you’re ready to jet off to your destination for a smooth week of depositions.  With all the travel investigated, requirements met, and accommodations booked, no anxiety about the business of getting to your destination will distract from your case.  Now that you know a bit about the culture into which you’ll be diving for a few days (or several!), you can eagerly anticipate your planned sightseeing jaunt.  You may even have been able to tweak your line of questioning for a more effective deposition!

It is worth mentioning that not only does all this prep work pay for itself, it doesn’t even take that much time, especially when using a handy checklist.  The State Department offers most of the scheduling-relevant information, as well as information regarding visas and other travel requirements.  There are several sites offering overviews of cultural and societal norms throughout the globe, and a global court reporting should be able to offer valuable insight as well.

Proper planning and preparation mean your international depositions will go off with no delays or issues, positively impacting your case and enhancing your world travels.

Let Planet Depos prepare your perfect international deposition. You can reach our team via email at international@planetdepos.com, phone at 888.433.3767, or through our convenient international scheduling portal.

Eight Safety Tips for International Travel (Updated)

Eight Safety Tips for International Travel (Updated)

Passport Tips

International travel involves a myriad of details, and the undeniable potential for harrowing experiences – long flights, multiple layovers, luggage issues, language barriers and the like.  There is plenty to rattle even seasoned travelers!  Another genuine concern for those traveling abroad?  Safety.  Fortunately, there are resources providing valuable information on both avoiding trouble when traveling overseas, as well as what to do in the event trouble finds you.   Here are a few suggestions for safe travels.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).   This free program is a quick and easy way for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to register their trip with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy nearest their destination.  The Embassy/Consulate will send you safety alerts, which can have a huge impact on your trip!  The program also means the Embassy/Consulate has a means of contacting you should any emergency arise (think natural disaster or some sort of violent demonstration).  It also serves as one more way for family to contact you in case of emergency.  This is a great program for those traveling regularly and widely, who may want to create an account.

Know before you go.  Do a little research, check travel advisories and alerts, and read at least basic safety information once your trip is set (or even before; depending on the travel advisory, you may want to postpone or cancel your trip).  The U.S. State Department’s website is a treasure trove for this purpose.  Simply look up the country or countries in question, and you can check for any travel alerts while checking visa requirements!  Even if there is no special alert, do take a minute to read the section on safety.  Much of the information is common sense, but region-specific advice is also included, and reading it can help you avoid a host of problems.

Check up on required or recommended vaccinations.  The CDIC will help you find out what vaccinations you may need before your trip.

Tap your emergency contact.  Make sure a responsible party back home has a copy of your itinerary, hotel information, contact information, etc., in case of an emergency.  In that vein, make sure the Embassy or Consulate with which you are registered also has this party’s contact information.

Don’t lose your travel documents!  This is obvious, so, just in case you do inexplicably lose your travel documents, keep copies of ALL your travel documents.  This is also a perfect example of why you should read the regional safety information on the State Department’s site.  Pickpockets are a leading cause of lost travel documents, as tourists often make easy targets.  So, do make copies, and do guard your travel documents!

Don’t talk to strangers!  Too much, anyway.  Meeting locals is a huge part of the experience of international travel, but don’t assume you’ve found your new best friend because you had a pleasant chat at the Taj Mahal.  Don’t be paranoid or rude but be careful about how chummy you get.

Use your own best judgment.  We often give others better advice than we hold ourselves to.   In this case, think of the advice you would give a loved one traveling abroad, and take it yourself.  This advice should include enjoying yourself, by the way.

Listen to the voice of experience.  Know someone who has traveled to your destination before you?   Get their input!  Ask friends, relatives, colleagues who have visited the region.  They may have some anecdotes that will prove very helpful to you.  The more information you have, the better, so stock up!   People who have visited before can be particularly helpful regarding hotels, airport transportation (scams are common in this area almost wherever you go), and dietary concerns.

The world, and traveling it, can be very dangerous.  While some things are beyond our control, many dangers are avoided or diminished through preparedness and plain common sense.  Once you have reviewed the information about your destination, including any possible dangers and taken any necessary precautions, you can depart worry-free and ready to enjoy your trip!

Planet Depos has been covering legal proceedings worldwide for over a decade.  Planet Depos reporters and videographers live and travel pretty much everywhere, making them a great resource for travel tips, from safety considerations to where to get the best local cuisine.  For more information on international travel, or to schedule your own proceeding abroad, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or international@planetdepos.com.

Trevor’s Adventures: Travel and Depositions in Jordan

Trevor’s Adventures: Travel and Depositions in Jordan

It’s been a while since I have been somewhere that was really new to me when it comes to traveling.  Recently, however, I had the chance to do a deposition in Amman, Jordan, and I leapt at the chance to finally experience the Middle East first hand.

I spent a little bit of time researching Jordan before going and learned that I should expect friendly people, a safe country for tourists, outrageous levels of hospitality, and amazing food.  I was most excited to experience number four on that list but tempered my expectations and hoped that things were even half as good as people on the internet were working them up to be.

Upon landing I grabbed a taxi to the hotel.  Most experienced travelers know not to take the random taxi guy that approaches you as you exit the airport, and here is no different. There were a LOT of taxi guys huddled around the stand, and it was really hard to figure out who I was supposed to go with.  A guy that I thought was my driver ended up taking my bags but it turned out he just wanted a tip for taking my bags five feet.  The joke was on him when he tried to lift the bags to put them in the trunk though.  Videographer equipment is no joke; that stuff is heavy!  I gave him a couple of dinars anyway.

 

Roman ruins amid the cityscape of Amman, Jordan

Roman ruins amid the cityscape of Amman, Jordan

 

The drive to the hotel was interesting.  The route from the airport takes you past desert on one side of the highway and green orchards on the other, and then, as you approach Amman, parts of the hilly terraced city come into view with layer upon layer of white and yellow buildings.  It looks exactly like I’ve always pictured cities in this part of the world look.  And then I pass a giant IKEA and it messes up every expectation I ever had.

They have IKEA here.  Of course.

First thing on my list I experienced was the hospitality.

No, wait, first thing I experienced was the security check getting into the hotel.  Guys with guns checking under the car with a mirror and in the trunk before going through a spiky gate and twisting through a maze of concrete barriers designed to stop a car from being able to move quickly.  I’m definitely in the Middle East.

Then I got the hospitality!

This hotel could have the most attentive staff I have dealt with.  They thought of things before I even knew I needed or wanted them.  The lowliest member of the staff had my name memorized by the second time they saw me, every time.

 

I had read that the one dish to try in Jordan was Mansaf, a lamb, rice, and yogurt dish that is kind of unofficially the official dish of the country.  My concierge found a place within walking distance (I wanted to explore the area on foot) and called ahead to make sure they served what I was after and let them know I was on my way.

So, number four on the list?  Check.  I spent my first year in Japan amazed how everything I ate could be so wonderful.  I spent the entire time I was in Jordan doing the same thing, and just like Japan, learned just how varied the menu was.  It’s not just Falafel and Shawarma, though they certainly got those down too.  Best food I’ve had in a long time, and consistently so as well.  An amazing place to experiment with new tastes.  Side note: I have already tracked down a place in Tokyo that serves Mansaf.  Let’s hope it compares!

Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

Next day I grabbed my court reporter partner and dragged her down to Petra, probably the most famous tourist site in Jordan.  It’s about a three-hour drive from Amman, and the hotel arranged a driver and car on very short notice for us.  This is where I ran into number one on my list of expectations:  Friendly people.  Our driver, Anas, was such a kind person.  Sure, he was on the payroll, but you can tell the difference between someone who is being paid to be nice and someone who is just nice.  He gave us stories, recommends, and a lot of laughs and smiles.

Petra itself is something else and more than worthy of its reputation.  It is busy, and probably even more so during the busy months, but what tourist spot isn’t these days?  It’s big!  Expect to spend about two hours walking from one end to the other, and then another two getting back to the entrance.  The scale of it is fascinating, and I spent most of the time trying to imagine what living there with 20,000 other people must have been like.

If you’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade you’ve seen a bit of the place.  You walk through a deep canyon with twists and turns that goes for more than a kilometer when you turn a corner and suddenly a giant four-story building is right in front of you carved out of the cliff face.  These were real buildings that had real uses and they cover the canyons from that point on.

Yes, I did buy a mini-Grail…

From there though, it was time to get some work done.  The hotel was just as attentive to the meeting room as to everything else.  The shorthand (stenographer pun!):  We were spoiled.

The trip had its fair share of surprises, and in the end I left, just like everywhere I go, wanting more.  Jordan is a wonderful place for a visit and for a deposition, and I hope if it’s on your radar you take a gamble and check it out with an open mind and an empty stomach.

Need to take a deposition in Jordan, or anywhere else in the Middle East? The Planet Depos International Team is versed in the intricacies of coordinating depositions around the world. Visit our international scheduling portal, or call us at 888.433.3767.

Top Hotels in Seoul, South Korea (Updated)

Top Hotels in Seoul, South Korea (Updated)

A view of downtown Seoul.

A view of downtown Seoul.

Planning depositions in South Korea and looking for the right hotel to accommodate your stay?  Most South Korea depositions schedule in Seoul, which is a very big city with a lot of traffic.  Staying near the deposition site or better yet, at the deposition site, is ideal.

Lotte Hotel Seoul

This hotel houses over 1,000 rooms in a prime location in Sogong-dong, with several fine dining options available in the hotel.  The hotel also sports a gym, sauna, swimming pool, salon and spa, driving range, business center, conference rooms, and a museum and art gallery.  The hotel offers airport transportation and is roughly 10 minutes from Gimpo.  Rooms start at about $180/night.

Book at the Lotte Hotel Seoul

Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Times Square

Rooms here start at about $140/night.  The use of your room key will unlock special discounts available within the Times Square entertainment complex.  A bonus to this hotel is the location, not far from Dongdaemun Market, a unique experience for all the senses, and major tourist attraction.  The hotel offers a gym, conference rooms, and business services including printing and copying as well.  Airport transportation is available, and the hotel is less than 10 minutes from Gimpo.

Book at the Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Times Square

Hotel Mercure Seoul Ambassador Gangnam Sodowe

This is a great location south of the river near excellent shopping.  Rooms start around $150/night.  The hotel boasts a café, restaurant, cocktail bar, gym and sauna.  Meeting space is also available, as well as a business center.  The hotel offers laundry service, and shuttle service to nearby airports, Gimpo (15 minutes) and Incheon (35 minutes).

Book at the Hotel Mercure Seoul Ambassador Gangnam Sodowe

Holiday Inn Express Seoul Euljiro

This one is a great option for attorneys with cost-conscious clients and is just 15 minutes from Gimpo.  Rates are available starting at approximately $90/night.  The hotel includes a restaurant, laundry, and a gym and business center.  The area is becoming trendy, with lots of little cafes, restaurants and shops tucked into old buildings, making it a fun place to explore.  The area also holds many print shops!

Book at the Holiday Inn Express Seoul Euljiro

Seoul is a city bursting with things to do, treats to eat, and places to stay.  If you anticipate having any free time at all during your trip, take a little time ahead of your departure to figure out what sites you want to visit.  Working with a local court reporting team can really help with these important decisions!  They can give you tips to get the most out of your time in Seoul.

For information on deposition logistics in Seoul, travel tips, or anything else to do with international depositions, contact Planet Depos International Team at 888.433.3767 or international@planetdepos.com, or visit our International Scheduling Portal.

Ringing in the New Year Throughout the World

Ringing in the New Year Throughout the World

The New Year is a time of looking ahead with hopes for good things to come and people wishing each other health, happiness and success in the coming year.  Festivities are varied, ranging from church services to fireworks, and sometimes include special meals or traditions.  Of course, Americans are familiar with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, the Scottish song originally published by Robert Burns, and popularized more than a century later by bandleader Guy Lombardo.  But some traditions are a bit more lively, a bit more tasty, and sometimes a bit more odd!  Read on for a sampling of traditions and perhaps pick one to incorporate into your own revelry this year!

In a few villages in Peru, you could get an opportunity to throw some punches before the year ends!   A tradition known as Takanakuy, this practice allows participants to settle old scores before the year ends, ensuring a fresh start.  There is also music and dancing involved (it is an all-day celebration, not just a slugfest), which hopefully even the loser can enjoy after taking a beating!  Odder still, in Switzerland, a tradition exists of dropping ice cream on the floor????  Tending toward gluttony myself, this tradition makes no sense to me, but I do like the approach in Estonia!  They eat seven times on New Year’s Day to assure abundance in the coming year.   Incidentally, they are known for their chocolate, as well as a real mouthful of a treat, vastlakukkel, a wheat bun stuffed with sweet whipped cream!

In Scotland, people visit their friends shortly after midnight to wish each other well, and it is considered especially good luck if the first person to enter your home in the new year is a tall, dark, handsome man (this is the land of Sean Connery, remember).   Naturally, this person should also come bearing gifts.  In Romania, people toss coins into rivers for good luck.  In Puerto Rico, they toss water out of windows to drive away evil spirits.  Italians get a bit heavier, literally, throwing old objects out the window, including clothes, pots and pans and even furniture!  This tradition is not as widely practiced as it used to be.  The gesture symbolizes letting go of the past, a common theme for the new year.

Some regions of South America observe a custom of carrying a suitcase on New Year’s Eve, either for a quick trip around the block, or all day and everywhere you go.  Some say leaving the suitcase by the door will do the trick.  The idea is, if you want the new year to contain exciting travel, grab your suitcase and go!  Around the block or about your business.  The real trip will come.

Of course, one of the most popular New Year traditions is the making of resolutions.  These also cover a wide spectrum, including spiritual, professional, romantic, health-related, etc.  The resolutions, whatever they may be, in and of themselves are an exhibition of optimism about the fresh start of the year.

With resolutions set, people return to work.  If your work involves international depositions, there are a few resolutions you can make to streamline the process.

Partner with a court reporting firm that specializes in international depositions and has offices and teams throughout the world: This firm can alert you to special travel requirements (visapassport), Hague considerations, etc.  They can assist with any requirements unique to certain countries for which you may not be familiar, and perhaps offer a little extra insight into the area you will be visiting, enhancing your stay there!

Work with local reportersvideographers, and interpreters: This saves you and your client money, as any travel costs will be minimal.  This also means you get the inside track on where to eat, shop, and visit.   Basically, you get way more bang for your buck working with locals.  Ask them about hidden gems you simply cannot miss — like that vastlakukkel!

Take advantage of the firm’s online repository: This provides you 24/7 access to all your transcripts, synchronized videos, exhibits, and related documents.  The repository is secure and equipped with powerful search tools, enabling you to quickly locate exactly what you need, when you need it.   There are no software licenses to purchase or manage.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions around the world for over a decade.  To enlist their expertise, email international@planetdepos.com, or schedule online.

Holiday Traditions from Around the World

Holiday Traditions from Around the World

There are many telltale signs of the holiday season creeping in. Colorful lights and decorations fill displays across town. Promotions for children’s toys are eye-catching, and the Salvation Army’s Santa Claus rings his cheery bells for all to hear. It feels like… the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is treasured all around the world and is celebrated in many different ways.

Several countries in Europe take part in the same holidays that are celebrated in the U.S. They also have a few of their own celebrations, such as Saint Stephen’s Day on December 26th. Saint Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint’s day to commemorate Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr. It is considered a national holiday in Ireland; however, the actual celebrations and festivities have little connection to the Saint. The day is observed by attending festivals (typically outdoors) and socializing with friends and family. The idea is that December 25th is a time to spend indoors.

South Korea is the only country in East Asia to formally recognize Christmas as a national holiday, but the holiday is celebrated throughout Asia, penguins dressed as Christmas trees and Santa Clauses parading in Seoul!  In Sweden, the Feast of St. Lucia is widely celebrated in the days leading up to Christmas (December 13).  Celebrations in Norway include gløgg, a warm spicy drink usually made with red wine, and gingerbread cookies called pepperkake.  Christmas is celebrated in a commercial style in Japan, coming on the heels of a huge Japanese holiday, the Emperor’s Birthday on December 23. The Christmas chicken dinner is a favorite in Japan.  (Note:  the U.S. Embassy and Consulate will be closed in observance of both holidays, so no depositions may be held in Japan on those days).

A giant Christmas tree in the square in front of Seoul City Hall in Korea.

A giant Christmas tree in the square in front of Seoul City Hall in Korea.

Colombia begins a Christmas Novena on December 16, a tradition of the Catholic Church to encourage remembrance of the spiritual meaning of Christmas.  Many families set up a manger scene, and carols are popular.  In Germany, Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) is sometimes accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht to serve as a warning to children to behave.  Israel draws pilgrims from around the world year-round, but a Christmastime pilgrimage holds special appeal for many.

With the holiday season and the many distractions working in the background, the last couple of months of the year are often busy for attorneys and paralegals, scheduling end-of-year depositions and proceedings, and planning for depositions in the year to come.  Much of the stress involved in this planning can be eliminated by selecting the right court reporting firm to assist with the planning.  Working with a firm with offices and court reporters throughout the U.S., as well as overseas, reduces costs and helps put your mind at ease.  Check to see if worldwide videoconferencing and streaming are available to further reduce costs.  Even if you must travel overseas for your depositions, your court reporting team shouldn’t have to; look for a firm with reporters, videographers, and interpreters local to your deposition country.

 

Working with the right court reporting firm allows you to efficiently coordinate your depositions, so you can enjoy your own holiday traditions!

Planet Depos has been covering depositions and legal proceedings throughout the world for over a decade.  For more information on scheduling overseas, fill out our Quick Questions form, Schedule Now form, or reach out at 888.433.3767 or international@planetdepos.com.

10 Tips to Make You Better at International Travel

10 Tips to Make You Better at International Travel

 

Old Stockholm

Old Stockholm

So you landed your first international gig.

Or maybe you’ve done this before, but you always seem to have trouble changing reservations, figuring out how much local currency to carry, and how much champagne to drink on the flight.

Here is a handy 10-point tip sheet that you might want to refer to whenever traveling abroad:

Plans can change at the last minute

When making reservations, make sure the hotel allows changes without penalties. Sure, that cute little boutique hotel might seem charming and quaint, but many of them adhere to a tight schedule of reservations and may apply fees for last-minute cancellations. Sometimes your best bet is one of the big hotel chains because you can always use the credit for a canceled reservation at another location. The same goes for airlines. Find out what their policy is for last-minute cancellations.

Pack only what you need

Pack only what you need and maybe one extra set of clothes “just in case.” Leave the steamer trunk of stuff at home. You’re not going on tour with the Rolling Stones. The key is to travel as light as possible, but be aware of incidentals. Yes, there will be pharmacies overseas, but you don’t want to have to run out in the middle of the night for Advil.

Check the expiration on your passport

Some countries want you to have more than six months left on the expiration date. Every country has different rules on what they want, and it’s best to find out in advance to ensure your passport is current and you don’t encounter unforeseen difficulties.

Determine if you need a visa

Find out if you need a visa. No, not the credit card Visa. A travel visa. Sometimes the passport isn’t enough and the country you’re traveling to wants you to have a travel visa, too.

Call your banks

Call your bank and credit card companies and let them know where you’re traveling and the approximate length of your stay. You don’t want your charge card to be declined because American Express thinks your card was stolen or the bank thinks your account was hacked.

Get international calling

Check with your phone provider. For a small fee, you can get international calling for the entirety of your stay.

Food on the Go by Trevor Price

Food on the Go by Trevor Price

Try the food

Try the street food. Really. It’s usually very good and better than going to the American chain restaurants.

Be polite

Be polite and respectful when going through customs and security.

Know your destination

Make sure you know your destination. For example, there are two Koreas. If you’re traveling to Korea for a deposition, it’s a certainty you’re going to South Korea.

Keep local currency with you

You’ll want to keep a little local currency on you. Not all taxi drivers and food establishments take good ol’ American plastic. You can hit the ATM wherever you’re going to withdraw cash.

Planet Depos has reporters, videographers, and interpreters living throughout the world and has been covering depos internationally for well over a decade.  The expertise is apparent from the scheduling process, with no detail missed, to the consummate professionalism in the deposition room.  For questions regarding depositions around the world or to schedule, call 888.433.3767 or complete the easy online scheduling form.

By Slade Grayson

At A Glance: Taking Depositions in Asia

At A Glance: Taking Depositions in Asia

The most grueling part of taking depositions in Asia might be getting there.  It’s true that taking depositions outside of the United States involves more coordination, time, and patience, but the process can and should be painless and worry-free.  Allowing enough lead time is vital.  Partnering with a global court reporting agency is, well, just plain smart.  Depositions in Asia are much easier to coordinate with help from experienced professionals.  Read on for a few things to keep in mind when your case takes you to this amazing part of the world.

No Depositions Allowed

Mainland China does not allow depositions.  (Well, okay, ONE has been permitted, ever.)  Do not try to take a deposition in China.  What you can do, provided the witness is willing to travel, is take the deposition in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong makes taking depositions easy and straightforward.  Depositions of willing witnesses can be taken anywhere, with no prior permission required from the government.  Hong Kong is a beautiful destination and offers fabulous accommodations both for your depositions and for your stay.  It makes a delightful alternative to arrest, detainment or deportation, any of which can result from trying to take a deposition in China.

Depos Permitted, buuuut with a Few Rules

Mt. Fuji with red pagoda in autumn, Fujiyoshida, Japan

Mt. Fuji with red pagoda in autumn, Fujiyoshida, Japan

Depositions in Japan are legal, provided they are held on U.S. Embassy grounds in Tokyo or U.S. Consulate grounds in Osaka.  This requirement begets deadlines, fees, and the dreaded (but really, not difficult to obtain, with proper planning) special deposition visa.  Think of it as an opportunity to show off or improve your organization skills.  At a glance, the requirements do seem daunting.  It is just a very structured process, but with a global court reporting agency at your side, you will waltz right through it and onto the Embassy or Consulate grounds to take your depos and be out in time to enjoy this charming country and culture.

Travel that Far can be Pricey!

Another benefit to a global reporting agency?  A truly global reporting agency, that is?  They have reporters, videographers, and interpreters living around the globe.  Travel to Asia is not cheap.  Accommodations throughout Asia are not cheap.  Working with on-the-ground professionals saves a lot of expense, as it eliminates most, if not all, travel costs for the court reporting team.  While saving on cost, this resident team adds priceless value to your time in Asia, as they can offer tips on where to go, what to eat, and the like.

Take All the Depos you Please

Depos in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Guam or Saipan involve no fancy requirements, nor restrictions as to where exactly they can be taken.  Taking depos in Guam or Saipan is just like taking depos in the States, although the landscape is a trifle more tropical!  The only real quandary with depos in any of these beautiful spots is how many extra days can you stay to enjoy your exotic surroundings.  The on-the-ground team can offer advice on how to get the most out of however many extra days or even just hours you have available to explore.

Don’t Lose your Case to Misinterpretation!

Interpreters in Asia are highly sought-after professionals and book months in advance.  Do not delay in contacting the court reporting agency as soon as possible to begin your quest for a skilled and experienced interpreter!  Provide as much information as you are able in order to eliminate conflicts and procure the most capable, experienced interpreter available, versed in the subject matter of the case.  Keep in mind that once reserved, these diligent professionals like to begin preparing immediately, so give them as many useful materials as you can gather.  Particularly in Japan, with strictly enforced time constraints, the fewer interruptions during the depositions, the better.

Travel Wisely

Wherever in Asia your depos take you, you’re in for a long haul to get there.  Travel is notoriously stressful and exhausting, so prepare as thoroughly for the voyage portion of your trip as you will for the time in your destination country. Remember the time difference is extreme (most of Asia is a full 12 hours ahead of EST, for a frame of reference), so if you can sleep on a plane, DO IT.  If you can’t sleep on a plane, make the flight as relaxing as possible.   Read a good book, binge-watch your favorite series (you’ve got the time) or maybe get to know some of your new, limited-time neighbors if you (and they) are so inclined.  Lastly, stay hydrated!  Skip the booze and sip water instead.  You will feel much better upon arrival.

Planet Depos has reporters, videographers, and interpreters living throughout the Asia-Pacific region and has been covering depos in the area and beyond for well over a decade.  The expertise is apparent from the scheduling process, with no detail missed, to the consummate professionalism in the deposition room.  For questions regarding depositions anywhere in Asia or to schedule, call 888.433.3767 or complete the easy online scheduling form.

Travel Made Simple on Three Continents

Travel Made Simple on Three Continents

 

Hiroshima Castle in Japan

Hiroshima Castle in Japan

Japan is easy travel.  Well, aside from the long flight, at least.  And perhaps you enjoy long flights.  Many people do.  The important thing is there are no fancy preparations before your departure to or upon your arrival in Japan!  There is no tourist visa required for stays of less than 90 days (do NOT forget your Special Deposition Visa!!).  There are no required or recommended vaccinations, no unnerving recommended precautions (do always check those at the U.S. State Department’s handy page), and your passport need only be valid for the length of your intended visit, with one blank page for the entry stamp.

Once you have arrived in Japan and have rested from your journey overseas, check with your hotel or court reporting team for local must-sees and good eats.  This is a country bursting at the seams with both.  Whether your depositions are taking place in Osaka or Tokyo, you will not lack for delectable dishes or unique experiences.  The strict hours at both the U.S. Consulate in Osaka and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo do give you a few extra hours in the day to play tourist, should you be so inclined.  The on-the-ground reporting team can tell you how to maximize whatever available time you have for memory-making excursions in these beautiful cities and their nearby areas.

Germany keeps travel requirements minimal.  No tourist visa is required for stays under 90 days.  Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned departure from the Schengen area and must contain two blank pages for stamps.  That’s pretty much it.  You don’t need any vaccinations to visit Deutschland, phew!  Do check the U.S. State Department’s travel alerts page to be aware of any recommended precautions.

 

Panorama of Regensburg, Germany

Panorama of Regensburg, Germany

Germany is a beautiful destination, with much to offer visitors, even visitors with little time for tourist activities.  Eateries with scrumptious offerings are plentiful in Frankfurt, the only city where depositions can be lawfully taken.  The metropolis is crammed with museums and fun attractions, and English is widely spoken in Frankfurt, making navigation easy.  Again, the well-traveled reporting team is an invaluable resource for tips on what to do, see, eat and drink during your time in Germany.

Mexico is also an easy destination as travel requirements go.  Yay!  Provided your stay is under 180 days, there is no visa required.  Your passport must be valid at the time of entry and contain two blank pages for stamps.  There are no required/recommended vaccinations prior to travel to Mexico, which is always nice, since needles are not.  Mexico will usually have travel alerts listed on the U.S. State Department’s website, so do peruse that page prior to your trip.

Mexico is a popular vacation spot, offering stunning beaches and resorts, along with good, colorful food and drink, and a vibrant culture to soak in and enjoy.  Depositions are most often held in the capital of Mexico City, which alone presents a myriad of fun sites to explore.  These include the ancient city of Teotihuacan (actually just north of Mexico City) and one of the largest parks in the Western Hemisphere, Chapultepec.  Check with your hotel, or again, your court reporting team, for tips on getting the most out of Mexico during your time there.

A night shot of the Chichen Itza Pyramid in Mexico

A night shot of the Chichen Itza Pyramid in Mexico

It is worth mentioning that it’s highly advisable to ensure your passport is valid for at least six months past your planned return date before embarking on any international travel.  Enrolling in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) with the State Department keeps you in the know when it comes to safety announcements.  Check with your court reporting agency for more tips on international travel and enjoy your trip!

Planet Depos has been covering depositions all over the world for well over a decade.  With reporters, videographers, and interpreters living in various parts of the world, they can provide coverage for depositions anywhere, as well as useful tips and information about your destination.  For more information on international depositions or to schedule, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or complete our easy online scheduling form.

Leave Your Worries Behind When Traveling Internationally

Leave Your Worries Behind When Traveling Internationally

Traveling internationally is an event to enjoy, whether your travel is for business or pleasure.  The trick to avoiding travel-related anxiety (and legitimate travel nightmares!) is to know what to expect and to prepare accordingly.  Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources out there with a wealth of information on the various countries around the globe.  This makes gathering the data you need a snap, preparation a breeze, and before you know it, you’re cruising down the runway headed to an exciting destination.  Here are a few tips to make this scenario a reality before you jet off to your next deposition overseas.

Safety First – Here are a few precautions anyone traveling internationally should take, just in case.

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan. This service (STEP) is free, and simply logs your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate. It takes next to no time to register and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to find you in the event of an emergency.  You can also receive alerts on your phone once registered.
  • Check out the area. The State Department provides a thorough overview regarding security for each country.  They also include common sense tips for avoiding troublesome scenarios while abroad.
  • Ask around for insights. Has a colleague or your cousin been to your destination before?  See if they have any tips for you.  Waaay back in 2002, my sisters warned me to avoid the metro while in Rome.  We walked everywhere.  Made for a better trip, and we avoided very skilled pickpockets!
  • The State Department does regularly update their travel advisory page as well, just FYI.

Practical/Itinerary Considerations – Unexpected snafus can mean no travel for you, so do run through this checklist.

  • Check your passport! Always make sure you have at least six months’ validity on your passport from your planned return date.  Also make sure you have the necessary number of blank pages for entry/exit stamps.
  • Check (and double-check) visa requirements. If a visa is required for your destination, check processing times and follow instructions carefully.
  • Double-check any additional travel requirements.

The first three tips can be taken care of on the State Department website.

  • Review recommended health precautions, required vaccinations and the like. The CDC is very useful for this.
  • Let your bank and credit card company know you will be traveling and to expect to see transactions abroad, so they don’t send up the alarm and block the charge when you try to pay for dinner in Hsinchu or buy souvenirs in Amsterdam.
  • Check the weather! Pack accordingly!  Also pack duplicates of all your travel documents, and keep separate from originals, in case of emergency.
  • Consider creating a Trusted Traveler Programs account to apply for Global Entry. This can greatly expedite security and customs!
  • Download handy apps for your destination country, like maps or currency converters.
  • Activate your phone’s global capabilities.

Make the Flight a Breeze – Flying can be stressful, and travel is draining in general.  Here are some ideas to take off the edge a bit.

  • Arrive at least two hours before departure time for your international flight. There is nothing worse than arriving in the nick of time to reach the gate and seeing that long security line.  Don’t do that to yourself.  Be prompt!
  • Be prepared for waiting, possible extended layovers, etc. In other words, make sure when you book your flight, you allow time to not only recover from jet lag, but for unforeseen flight delays.  Worst (best?) case scenario, caution means you have an extra day for sleep or to explore a new country!
  • Be prepared for long, boring flights (and waiting around in airports)! If you can’t sleep on a plane, have case materials handy to do some extra prep.  Better yet, read!  Bring a favorite novel, or a fun, humorous travel guide about your destination.  Also bring headphones in case you are seated next to a Chatty Cathy.

Arrive and Enjoy!  Get the most out of whatever free time you may have on your trip.

  • Ask the court reporting team what you absolutely MUST see while you are there.
  • Ask them for the name of the one restaurant you can’t afford to miss while you are there.
  • Don’t be afraid to try crazy local dishes! Barring any food allergies or other dietary restrictions, now is the time to be daring and sample some things you wouldn’t normally eat.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions all over the world for well over a decade.  With reporters, videographers, and interpreters living in various parts of the world, they can not only provide coverage for depositions anywhere, but also useful tips and information about your destination.  For more information on international depositions or to schedule, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or fill out our easy online scheduling form.

 

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