Attendance

Visa Information for Travelers to the United States of America

You should apply for a BUSINESS VISA to attend a scientific conference.  Unless you are traveling on a passport with a visa waiver agreement, apply for your visa at least a few months prior to the conference.

See http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/general/visa-wizard.html.html for particularly easy to understand information.  Select from the wizard the following choices:

[Business or Employment] // [Temporary Business]] // Attend Meeting 

The wizard will guide you through the process of which visa you need and how to obtain it.

The following information was taken (with some minor modifications) from http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/intecol/visa.html

Visa Waiver Program

Citizens of Mexico traveling to the US have the option to secure a Border Crossing Card rather than a B-1 visa. Additionally, citizens of Canada and Bermuda traveling for visitor visa purposes do not need a visa, with some exceptions.

Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:

Andorra

Denmark

Hungary

Liechtenstein

New Zealand

Slovenia

Australia

Estonia

Iceland

Lithuania

Norway

South Korea

Austria

Finland

Ireland

Luxembourg

Portugal

Spain

Belgium

France

Italy

Malta

San Marino

Sweden

Brunei

Germany

Japan

Monaco

Singapore

Switzerland

Czech Republic

Greece

Latvia

the Netherlands

Slovakia

United Kingdom

Applying for a US Visa

Applicants for visitor visas should generally apply the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence. Visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of review than in the past so it is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.

As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by embassy or consulate. Making your appointment for an interview is the first step in the visa application process. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available on our website at Visa Wait Times , and on most embassy websites. Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy specific instructions, and much more by visiting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.

During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing , which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.

Required Documentation

Each applicant for a visitor visa must submit these forms and documentation as explained below:

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit our DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160 online process.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a valid date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application;
  • One (1) 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements.

Tips for Successful Visa Applications

  • Visa applicants are expected to provide evidence that they are intending to return to their country of residence. Therefore, applicants should provide proof of “binding” or sufficient ties to their residence abroad. This includes documentation of:
         - family ties in home country or country of legal permanent residence
         - property ownership
         - bank accounts
         - employment contract or statement from employer showing that position will continue
             after the visit to the United States.
  • Visa applications are more likely to be successful if done in a visitor’s home country than in a third country;
  • Applicants should present their entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States, at the time of their visa application;
  • Include a letter of invitation from the meeting organizer or the U.S. host, specifying the subject, location and dates of the activity.   We issue such letters upon request after the registration fee is paid.
  • Provide specifics on how travel and local expenses will be covered.
  • 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 professional scientific and/or educational status (students should provide a university transcript);

Visa Denials

If the consular officer should find it necessary to deny the issuance of a visitor visa, the applicant may apply again if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. For additional information, click here to learn more. In the absence of new evidence, consular officers are not obliged to re-examine such cases.

Additional Information

Health Insurance. Medical care in the United States can be very expensive. All visitors should carry adequate health insurance valid for the duration of their stay in the United States.

Driving in the United States. Visitors who wish to rent cars must have a major credit card and a valid driver’s license from their own country. In some cases, an international driver’s license may be required. Contact the car rental company directly for specific information.

Required Change of Address Notice. Visitors staying in the United States longer than six months must notify the U.S. government of any change in their residential address within ten 10) days or face serious consequences. Address notification should be made directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using their required form.

Registration. Federal law requires that all non-U.S. citizens carry evidence of their lawful status with them at all times. This is especially important for all travel, international or domestic. It is advisable to keep copies of all pages of the passport, visa, I-94 Arrival-Departure card, and supporting documents such as DS-2019 forms, in a safe place in case of loss of the original documents.