A business visa, either a B1 or WB (if from a visa waiver country), is the required visa to obtain in order to enter the US, attend the conference and receive any type of funding or reimbursement. These types of activities are not allowed on a tourist visa (B2 or WT). In particular, it is imperative that you enter the US with a business visa if you expect to receive any type of funding or reimbursement from the conference.
There are many different requirements to obtain a visa to enter the US or other countries. Some embassies may request a conference attendee to present a letter from the conference to verify their intentions to attend the specific conference (invitation letter). It may also be necessary to verify that the requester has paid the registration fee in full.
Visa applications are currently subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. Many applicants may be required to appear in person for an interview as part of the visa process. Applicants affected by these procedures are informed of the need for additional screening (Administrative Processing) at the time they submit their visa application and will be advised to expect delays. Therefore, attendees are advised to apply for their visa no later than 4-6 months prior to the conference.
Obtaining a Visa
If you are planning to travel to the United States to attend the conference and you live in a country that requires a Visa, we urge you to apply for one as early as possible. Below are suggestions to help you secure the correct Visa.
- Apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate near you (website) at least 4-6 months before intended travel. You can check on-line for the wait times for appointments.
- Be prepared to allow inkless fingerprinting and digital photographs upon entry to the US.
- Be accurate and specific in completing your application. Avoid mistakes. If needed, attach an additional explanation letter.
- Attach evidence of your previous visits to the United States and of your intended return trip to your home country.
- Acquire a police clearance, if possible.
- Bring all documentation proving your home country connections. Suggestions include: past visas, bank accounts, family, professional position, home ownership, and marriage license.
- If you are presenting a paper or speaking at the meeting or are receiving an award or grant, bring copies of correspondence confirming that.
- Bring your letter of invitation from the conference
- You will need to apply for a Business visa.
Important information for those applying for B-1 visas
General information on all Temporary Visas can be found here in order to participate in a conference or other temporary travel to the United States.
Click here for the United States Visa application procedures.
Note: A Visa only allows you to travel to the US. You will still have to be admitted at your point of entry. Click here for information from U.S Customs and Border Protection on the Entry Process into the United States.
Visa Waivers: U.S. visa policy permits citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa, when they meet certain requirements, under U.S. laws. Please click the following link for more information about which counties participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Prior to their travel to the U.S., attendees will need to register with an Electronic Travel Authorization Application (ESTA). The ESTA information and form can be found on this site. Finally, Visa Waiver attendees should secure a WB (Business) stamp not a WT (Tourist) stamp from the immigration officer at their port of entry.
All conference letters of invitation are only provided to attendees who are planning to participate and attend the conference. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a letter of invitation and/or a letter for visa application:
You will need to provide the following information in your request:
- Your full name (Family name and given name)
- Date of Birth
- Passport Number/Nationality
- Degree (M.D., Ph.D, etc.)
- Job Title (Professor, Lab Director, etc.)
- Full mailing address
Multiple Travelers from One Institution
In order to expedite the application process and reduce processing costs, it is requested that if you will be traveling from an institution that will likely be sending more than one person, please work with your institution to gather all requests with the required information at one time to be submitted.
Note: In some cases, Visa Offices will not accept electronically transmitted invitation letters.