The Indian Business Visa

If you are traveling to India for the purposes of doing business, you are most likely going to be applying for a B visa, or business India visa.  These visas are given out by Indian embassies to foreign nationals intending to do business with an Indian company on behalf of a foreign organization.  Note that this visa does not cover people who are visiting India for the purposes of money lending, petty trading, or full-time employment within the country.

Most Indian business visas are multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years.  However, there are special visas offered only to citizens of the United States which are valid for a duration of ten years.

When you are applying for an Indian business visa, you will be required to present the following documents to the Indian embassy that holds jurisdiction over your area of residence:

  • Your passport, which should have at least three blank pages and six more months of validity at the time of your application.
  • A passport-sized photograph.  This photo should be in color, 4 cm by 4 ch, featuring a full and unobstructed view of your face against a plain or off-white background, with your eyes open.
  • A photocopy of your passport.
  • A visa application form, downloaded off of the Indian government website and filled out in full.
  • A letter of sponsorship from the company you represent.
  • A letter of invitation from the Indian company that you are planning to do business with during your visit to the country.  This letter should be addressed to the embassy, requesting that you be granted a business visa.  This letter should also mention the purpose of your visit, as well as the period of time that your visit will cover.
  • Evidence of a financial standing adequate enough to support yourself for the duration of your stay in India.  For example, you might submit a bank statement from the past month.
  • Evidence of your expertise in the field that you are planning to do business.  For example, you might be expected to show a copy of the highest educational degree you have received in your field.
  • Your visa fee.

Healthy Dining in China

Chinese food is well-loved throughout the world, and many visitors to the country are eager to sample the authentic native fare.  Of course, as is generally the case when visiting any foreign country, it is important to be aware of the potential implications to your health.  A foreign diet often represents a significant adjustment for travelers, and China’s cuisine is no exception.

Unfortunately, China does not widely enforce any particular health regulations on its restaurants.  This generally is not a big problem for visitors, though it does mean that you need to be careful about where you dine.  A lot of the big restaurants and recognizable fast food chains are a good bet; they will often prepare your food fresh to order with good hygiene practices and a minimum of health risks.  You can probably expect to experience some minor stomach problems as you acclimate yourself to the Chinese diet, but this does not necessarily mean that you ate in a bad restaurant.

The places you most want to watch out for are street vendors.  Even the best of these are generally lacking in refrigeration, which can lead to some very unsafe food products.  Watch out for people selling meat or seafood in particular, especially during hot weather.  If you decide to buy from such a vendor, look for the places that will cook the food in front of you, watch for the stalls that seem most popular with the locals, and only eat off of plastic-wrapped chopsticks.

Chances are good that you are not going to be required to take any sort of vaccination before you can receive your Chinese visa.  However, some of the less sanitary restaurants in the country have been known to spread Hepatitis A and Typhoid.  Therefore, it may be advisable to get immunized while waiting on your visa, particularly if you plan to stay in China for an extended period of time.

Another important rule is to never drink tap water.  The Chinese people themselves will not drink from their own faucets without boiling it first, even in urban areas.  When you are staying at a hotel, you can expect to be provided with either a thermos full of boiled water that can be refilled by the hotel staff on request or a kettle to boil your own water.  By sticking to boiled water and sealed commercial beverages, you should remain healthy during your stay in China.

Who is Not Eligible for a US Passport?

You must be a US citizen in order to obtain a US passport. However, persons who’ve had serious run-ins with the law or who fall behind on certain types of mandated payments, can be prevented from obtaining one. So if you love traveling the world, avoid the following deplorabilities at all costs! For more reason than one.

MISSED CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS

Parents who owe $2,500 or more in missed child support payments will not be allowed to obtain a US passport. If you plan to apply for a US passport and have only recently made good on missed child support payments, it’s important to make sure computer databases are brought up to date. This way your passport application can be successfully processed.

OUTSTANDING WARRANTS

Anyone with an outstanding warrant will not be eligible for a US passport. That includes local warrants, state warrants, federal warrants, and even warrants issued by a foreign country. If you plan to apply for a US passport, make absolutely certain you are free from outstanding warrants.

COURT ORDERS

Court-ordered probation, psychiatric hospitalization, and drug rehab programs can all prevent someone from obtaining a US passport. Only once the terms of a court order have been completed, will persons under them be eligible to receive a US passport.

FELONIES

Felons currently incarcerated, on house arrest, or on work release, will be prevented from obtaining a US passport. That being said, once a felon has served his or her time and turned their life around, they should be able to obtain a US passport. It all depends on the conviction, and they may need special permission. But those with international drug trafficking convictions may never be able to obtain a US passport ever again.

FEDERAL LOANS

The US government will generously assist with paying for an education or starting a small business. But if you’re late paying them back, or worse, stop making payments altogether, you won’t be allowed to acquire a US passport.

Consulting with a travel expert can be very helpful if you’re uncertain about your eligibility for a US passport.

When To Renew a US Passport In Person

Most international travelers prefer the convenience of renewing a US passport through the mail. But in certain situations, renewing a US passport in person isn’t just an option. It’s required! Knowing when will guarantee your passport gets processed as quickly as possible.

EXPIRED FOR 15 YEARS

You should never wait too long to renew an expired passport. But some of us wait way too long. As in, 15 years too long. A lot can change about a person in 15 years. Their address. Their profession. Even their physical appearance. That’s why when your US passport has been expired for more than 15 years, you are required to renew it in person.

PASSPORTS FROM CHILDHOOD

Not much stays the same about a person after the age of 15. They can move into their own place. Maybe get married. Or even grow a beard! That’s why if your expired US passport was issued at the age of 15 or younger, you’ll need to renew it in person. The key word here is issued. Because even if you’ve had a valid passport after the age of 16, you’ll still need to show up in person if it was issued to you before that age.

DAMAGED PASSPORTS

Passports aren’t made of metal. 10 years of bending and stuffing into valises and pockets might cause the information inside to fade. Unfortunately if that happens, you won’t be able to renew your passport by mail. After all, the State Department needs a way to verify that the passport book is yours. So take care of your passport, and keep it in good condition!

A NEW NAME?

Were you married since the last time your passport was issued? Or did you change your name to something a bit more hip? Either way, if the name on your expired US passport is not your current name, you might have to apply in person. It all depends on if you can provide official documentation to prove your name change. If you can, then mail away! But if you can’t, it’s off to the passport agency.

RENEWALS FOR MINORS

Sure, most kids know how to seal envelopes and stick on stamps. But if they’re under 16, they aren’t yet legal adults, and aren’t allowed to mail in a US passport application. Everyone under the age of 16 must renew their passport in person with their parents.

If you’re unsure of whether or not you can apply for a US passport by mail, it’s best to ask a travel expert.

What to do if you lose your passport overseas

“I lost my passport!” That’s something you never want to hear yourself say. But it does happen, and it doesn’t have to be a disaster. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make it easier to replace your lost passport and plenty of resources available for U.S. citizens who find themselves in this alarming position.

Hopefully you planned ahead and made copies of your passport as well as your other travel documents. This will expedite replacing your passport. But even if you don’t have a copy there are steps you can take.

Reputable, accredited passport and visa services such as Travel Visa Pro can help you in the event you lose your passport overseas or need to replace it due to severe damage.

If you lose your passport overseas report it immediately even if you think you won’t need it for several weeks or months. Reporting your lost passport immediately can guard against identify theft. The State Department recommends you contact or visit your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for help. You can also report your loss by telephone or online.

To report your passport lost or stolen by phone, contact the State Department at:  1-877-487-2778. Operators are not available 24 hours per day or on federal U.S. holidays, so you may need to keep trying.

If you have access to the Internet, you can report your loss online by following State Department instructions for filing form DS-64.

Reporting your passport as lost or stolen is only the first step in replacing your passport. You’ll still need to apply for a replacement passport by appearing in person at a Passport Agency or Passport Acceptance Facility. You can often find these in airports. Check with the State Department or a passport service in advance to determine what documentation you’ll need to provide in order to replace your lost passport.

Important note:  Reporting a passport lost or stolen immediately invalidates that passport, so make sure your passport is not just tucked away in your luggage somewhere before reporting its loss. Even if you find your passport immediately after reporting it lost, you won’t be able to use it for travel.

Happy Travels!