Traveling as a freelancer may seem like something of a dream. Being able to work from anywhere, travel the world, and still get paid is an ideal way to live, right? True. But if you are going to travel as a freelancer, especially internationally, you are going to have to be able to do more than just deal with a serious case of jet lag.
In fact, traveling for freelancers can be a little trickier than you might think for a number of reasons. Here are a few of them, and how to work through them.
Get Some Kind of Proof of Employment
When you are trying to travel internationally one of the things many countries will look at when issuing a visa is your employment. Why? They want to know that you have a steady job and a reason to return home. For most people, this is a fairly simple part of the visa application process. You simply have your employer fill out a form, and send it in. However, how do you do the same as a freelancer?
You will need to get statements of employment from your clients. This is not like a standard statement of employment, but simply something that says you do contract work for them and will continue to do so. This can be pretty easy for clients who you work regularly for.
If you can’t get one of these, just be prepared to show invoices from clients that are ongoing. For most countries, this will satisfy the requirement, but may delay your application.
Open a Bank Account and Maintain a Balance
Another thing that many countries want to see when you travel abroad is that you have money for a couple of reasons.
The first is that they want to make sure you can finance the trip you are currently taking. While a given for many other tourists, it is a fact often questioned of freelancers. The second is they want to make sure you have the money to make it home, and an incentive to do so, like money in the bank.
The recommendation is that you open a separate savings account, and just leave the money in there. Then use that account for any visa applications. This shows that your account is in good standing, and that you have a high average daily balance. Then you can have another account that has your money for traveling, the account you will actually pay for the trip out of.
Beef Up Your Travel History
Believe it or not if your passport does not have many stamps on it or if you have only traveled domestically, it can hurt your chances for a travel visa to some countries. While you may have used Expedia and gotten great deal on Hawaiian flights, if you have not been beyond United States borders, you will have a hard time with your application.
The key is then to travel in visa free countries, or those that are easy to get into. Get some travel under your belt and some stamps in your passport that prove you have something to go home to, and you’ll be a lot more likely to get approved.
Another frequent requirement: health insurance. Even if your plan does not cover you exactly the same when you are traveling abroad, having health insurance is important for more than just satisfying tourist visa requirements. It can mean the difference between being stranded overseas and getting home for medical care.
Sometimes this means getting supplemental travel insurance that includes health insurance for while you are on the road as well. This type of insurance can be had at pretty affordable prices, and showing proof of it can speed your visa approval process.
Register Your Business Officially
Another way to show your stability and that you will return to the country is to have your business registered officially as a sole proprietorship or an LLC. This is a wise move anyway, from a business standpoint, and it can also help you prove your income and solvency.
The fact that you own a company and have that anchor to your community makes you more appealing as a traveler to countries that are a little tougher to visit. Leverage your status as a business owner to get your travel papers easily.
The tough part about being a freelancer is proving employment and income, and sometimes this can affect things you might not think of, like travel. So follow these five rules for traveling for freelancers to make your journey more likely to be approved and to go smoothly.
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