International Attendee Travel Information
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Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you.
Apply for your U.S. visa well in advance of your travel!
Most travelers to the United States must hold a valid visa and a passport that is valid for six months longer than the intended visit. If you require a visa, please understand that the visa application process may take several months.
Please visit the U.S. State Department for information on U.S. visas and the visa process. In addition, The International Visitors Office, a program operated by the Board on International Scientific Organizations, is a resource on visa-related issues for scientists and students traveling to the U.S. for professional activities.
Important steps to remember:
- Review your visa status, and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal. Non-U.S. citizens traveling from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa, through the Visa Waiver Program if they meet certain requirements, including having a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval. Additionally, citizens of Canada may not need a visa, with some exceptions. There are currently 36 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program. The ESTA application now requires the traveler’s country of birth information. This applies to new applications submitted on or after December 22, 2011 and does not apply to applications submitted prior to that date. To obtain the visa electronically, go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html. This is the text from the ESTA welcome page: International travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are now subject to enhanced security requirements. All eligible travelers who wish to travel under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization…
- Voluntary ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States, and Visa Waiver Program travelers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States.
- Review the Visa Wait Times information for interview appointments and visa processing at each embassy and consular section worldwide. Visit the embassy or consular section website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and for any other instructions.
- Plan on an interview, as well as quick inkless fingerprint scans at the U.S. embassy or consulate, which is required for most visa applicants. Some visa applications require additional administrative processing, which requires some additional time (and applicants are advised when they apply).