Procedures for International Visitors
Visitors traveling to the United States from all countries (including the visa waiver countries) are required to register personal details online at least three days in advance of travel. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) has a fee of 14.00, 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 usually completed enroute to the United States. 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. More information is available on the DHS website.
Meeting attendees are encouraged to apply for visas as early as possible. Registration refunds will not be issued after March 4 for denied visas.
Obtaining a Visa
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 State Department for a security review. We advise scientists traveling to the United States to apply for a visa as early as possible; at least three 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.
To assist you with the Visa application process (not required for countries included in the Visa Waiver Program):
- Official letter of invitation for Experimental Biology can be generated at the conclusion of online registration. Ask for a letter of invitation to attend at least four months prior to the meeting (see below for further information).
- Apply for visa at least three months in advance. For countries that are on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List, the State Department suggests applying for a visa eight months in advance.
- 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.
- Provide meeting brochure and letter of invitation.
- Provide evidence that you are intending to return to your country of residence. This includes such things as:
- family ties in current country of residence
- property ownership
- bank account
- an employment contract or statement from employer showing that position will continue after the dates of the meeting
- Requirements vary by passport-issuing country and citizenship (not merely residency).
For applications that have not been approved 30 days after the interview you should complete an on-line questionnaire for assistance. You will be asked to name the meeting (EB 2020) and explain the purpose of your visit. Find information regarding visa wait times.
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.
The U.S. VISA Policy Resources page offers additional information.