International Travel to the U.S. (Visas/Passports)

Requests for Letters of Invitation

Customized Letters of Invitation can only be issued to confirmed registrants, defined as those who have paid the meeting registration fees. After you have registered, within your confirmation you will find a Web page link that automatically generates your customized letter of invitation. For security purposes, letters of invitation cannot be sent if you have not registered for the 2014 ASCB/IFCB Meeting. If you have questions, please email them to: tarmstrong@ascb.org.

Expedited Abstract Review (August 5 deadline only)

Expedited abstract review for those who need to apply for a Visa and who submit their abstract by the August 5 deadline is available. Expedited abstract review for visa applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you are submitting an abstract for presentation at the 2014 ASCB/IFCB Meeting and need to know if your abstract has been accepted before September 25, 2014, for visa-related reasons, please submit your abstract and email your request to abstracts@ascb.org by August 5, 2014. For more information, please click here.

Procedures for International Visitors

US Visa Links

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

Some foreign meeting participants may not need visas if they are citizens of any of the countries on the Visa Waiver Program. ALL citizens of the Visa Waiver Program are required to have Machine-Readable Passports (MRP) in order to travel to the United States without a visa. Without an MRP, you will be required to apply for a visa. All foreign visitors (including Visa Waiver Program travelers) will be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in the U.S. Click here for more information about the VWP.

Passport and ETSA Registration

All visitors traveling to the U.S. must present a valid passport. It is suggested (and in some cases may be required) that your passport haveat least six months left before it expires from the date that you will be traveling abroad. Before entering the U.S., all foreign visitors are responsible for ensuring that they have the required documents necessary, whether they are traveling through to another country or returning to their country of origin.

Visitors traveling to the United States from all foreign countries (including the visa waiver countries) are required to register their personal details online at least three (3) days in advance of travel. Individuals traveling on valid visas are not required to apply. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a free, automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form you usually complete enroute to the U.S. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. DHS recommends that travelers submit an ESTA application as soon as they begin travel plans. Unsure if you need to apply? Click here for frequently asked questions.

Visas

ASCB/IFCB 2014 Meeting attendees are encouraged to apply for visas as early as possible. Registration refunds will not be issued for denied visas. As part of security procedures, applications for visas are sent to the U.S. State Department for a security review. For further information, visit the State Department Web site. Note: ASCB advises scientists traveling to the U.S. to apply for a visa as early as possible — at least six months before the visa is needed. Please check with your local U.S. consulate or embassy to find out the earliest that you may apply for a visa.

Important points to keep in mind to assist you with the visa application process:

  • Start Early: Register for 2014 ASCB/IFCB as soon as possible so that your customized letter of invitation can be generated.
  • Apply for your visa four (4) to six (6) months in advance of traveling. You should provide your entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States, at the time of visa application.
  • If completion of travel plans is contingent upon early approval of the visa application, specify this at the time of the application.
  • Provide proof of scientific status (for example, proof that you submitted an abstract for the meeting). Do not wait until you receive notification that your abstract submission has been accepted before applying for a visa. It is very rare that ASCB denies an abstract. If your abstract followed the rules and guidelines, it will be accepted and programmed.
  • Bring your English-language resume or C.V. with a list of published articles and research topics to the U.S. consulate/embassy interview.
  • Provide evidence that you are intending to return to your country of residence. This includes such information as:
    • family ties in current country of residence
    • property ownership
    • bank account
    • an employment contract or statement from an employer showing that your position will continue after the dates of the meeting
  • Requirements vary by passport-issuing country and citizenship (not merely residency). Some consulates may have backlogs in scheduling visa interviews so applicants should first contact their local consulate to determine what the wait times are for visa interviews. Click here for the current list of visa interview and processing wait times by country.

Visa Problems

For applications that have not received approval at least two weeks prior to the start date of the ASCB/IFCB Meeting, you should complete the Visa online questionnaire. Eligibility requirements are listed before you begin. Please note that individuals who have applied for dependent visas (such as F2 and J2) should not complete this questionnaire.

U.S. Visa Policy Resources

Please click here for more information.

Be Prepared for Your Interview

Make sure you have all the necessary documentation with you at your interview. You will need the following:

  • A valid passport.
  • Appropriate visa application forms.
  • Your entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States, at the time of your visa application.
  • Documents detailing employment status, reason for travel and financial status. It is recommended that you provide an official letter of invitation from Show Management and proof of advance registration to attend the show. Proof of previous visits to the U.S.
  • Proof of professional scientific and/or educational status (students should provide a university transcript).
  • Proof of payment of visa fees.
  • Any additional documents required by your local Embassy or Consulate.
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