Travel Management Blog

3 Challenges of Managing Visa Checking for Business Travel


Travellers having the correct entry documents can be the difference between successful business trips and disasters. It can also be the difference between retaining a client or losing them to a better-prepared competitor. We look at three key challenges travel managers face when managing visa checking and some surprisingly simple ways to overcome them.

Visa applications and checks have always been an important part of a travel manager’s role—although perhaps not always treated as such. Much maligned as time-consuming and frustrating, they’re also vital to successful travel. This statement has never held more weight than it does in the modern corporate travel market, as businesses operate in an erratic global economy that increasingly demands travel further afield to emerging markets.

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1. Keeping Up with the Latest Developments

Turn on the TV or visit any news site today, and you’ll see a world pockmarked by geopolitical volatility and insularity. You only need to look at recent global events such as the US’s heavily criticised travel ban, Brexit, or the cooling of Western-Russo relations to gauge the many uncertainties present in global business travel. 

Unfortunately for travel managers, ensuring travellers have the correct documents to enter their destination, means keeping one eye on the news cycle and another on embassy requirements.

Or at least it used to.

TMCs have more help than ever before in keeping abreast of the latest diplomatic crisis or break in relations, and we’re not talking about the 24-hour news cycle. No, increasingly, the best way to keep up with the latest developments is to use a tool that does it for you.

One option available is to bolt a visa checking plug-in onto your existing GDS software. Our version of this, VisaEase, uses data provided by visa procurement experts CIBT to return up-to-the-minute information on the documents required to travel anywhere in the world. This means no more being blindsided by rule changes and, more importantly, avoiding hours of research.


One of the trickiest problems posed by visa checking has always been the sheer time it takes. Inspecting booking files and determining which countries, including transit points, are being travelled to, as well as passenger nationalities can take hours. And it's pretty tedious to boot.

Add this to the multitude of other tasks modern travel managers have to see to­­­—such as managing supplier relationships, creating itineraries and ensuring traveller satisfaction—and it soon becomes a tough ask. Not only does manual visa checking divert travel managers from other more lucrative or rewarding tasks, it also comes with a high risk of human error.

It’s clear travel managers could do with some help and fortunately, it’s forthcoming in the form of automation. Automatic visa checking is now a staple of many TMC's working practices; some use apps such as CIBTvisas or VisaHQ, while some use GDS plug-ins that source visa information straight from the point of sale.

Whatever the method, automating what’s often sluggish manual work can deliver huge time savings for travel managers, as well as lessening the threat of human error.

3.The Challenges Posed by Emerging Markets 

The global economy is evolving at breakneck speed, with business travel to Russia and the Caucasus, Africa, South America, India, China and South East Asia becoming ever more commonplace. With it comes new challenges. While all the countries listed could be termed “emerging markets”, many of them are also notoriously difficult and capricious when it comes to visa requirements.

For example, Russia requires the completion of a long and complicated online form, with a charge for mistakes. Meanwhile Angola is well known in the travel industry for its changeable visa requirements, sometimes moving the goalposts from one day to the next. On top of that, destinations such as India are renowned for their long lead times on processing visa applications.

So, what can TMCs do? Some of the most lucrative deals are being put together in emerging markets, so to fail means to rule yourself out of working with many blue-chip companies. But equally, researching and keeping up with these requirements is time-consuming and confusing.

Although it can’t help with visa requirements themselves, the answer once again lies in technology.

Simply having an application that tracks changes and provides you with the information you need well in advance of travel can mitigate the worst excesses of fickle embassies. Being able to plan with accurate information means you’ll avoid being caught out by long turnaround times and be less likely to make mistakes that incur fines or delay travel.


Visa checking doesn't have to be arduous or fraught with risk. With modern technology, travel managers have plenty of options for automating and simplifying the process. At Navitas, we offer a suite of add-ons designed to make travel managers' days a little easier, including our automatic visa checking tool VisaEase. For more information on how we can help you take the pain out of visa checking, as well as help you create more flexible and user-friendly systems, visit our GDS add-ons page or follow the link below. 

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