ASCE encourages you to process any required visa documents at least 6 months in advance of the conference date. Please remember that the U.S. Department of State now requires you to appear for a personal interview in order to apply for a visa and requires that you have a machine-readable passport. Some consulates have up to a four-month waiting period for an interview, so please contact your nearest consulate as soon as possible to request an interview date. If you have difficulty getting a timely interview appointment, please contact Narcy Ibanez and we will do what we can to help. ASCE cannot refund registration fees after the registration cutoff date due to an individual’s inability to obtain a Visa. Please file your paperwork as far in advance as possible in order to be eligible for a refund prior to the registration cutoff date.
To request a letter of invitation to attend the conference, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a letter via airmail to the address that you provide. Please indicate if you want to receive an additional copy via your e-mail address or via fax.
Letters cannot be e-mailed or sent to the Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
ASCE cannot intervene on behalf of the invitees with the Embassy or U.S. Consulate via fax, phone, surface mail, or e-mail.
If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
The U.S. Department of State provides information on traveling to the United States regarding passports, international travel, etc. Their Web site is accessible via http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1262.html.
Important: New Travel Regulation for International Visitors Takes Effect
Effective January 20, 2010, inbound travelers to the United States from Visa Waiver Program countries may be denied boarding by the airlines if they haven’t complied with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization program.
ESTA, introduced in January 2009, requires all international travelers from VWP countries to register in an online database. Previously, international travelers had to fill out an I-94W form before each trip, but ESTA seeks to streamline and update the process.
Now, international travelers to the United States must go to the ESTA Web site and fill out an application before entering the country by air or sea. If approved, the authorization is good for two years and can be renewed. Travelers no longer have to fill out an I-94W form before each trip. U.S. officials say ESTA will speed up the process for travelers, enable customs officials to screen passengers in advance, and improve security.
Since ESTA was unveiled on January 12, 2009, it hasn't been strictly enforced. Those who didn't apply for ESTA were given a friendly reminder to do so next time. But starting January 20, 2010, the program has new teeth and, according to the Web site, “VWP travelers who have not received an ESTA approval may be denied boarding. CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] will handle emergencies on a case-by-case basis.”
On January 20, DHS officials initiated a 60-day transition to enforced ESTA compliance for air carriers. After that period, the I-94W forms will be eliminated, and airlines risk fines for allowing travelers to board without the proper documentation.
What does this mean for your travel to the US?
The U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism advises planners to alert international members and attendees to these new regulations. They should also post reminders on conference Web sites and registration Web pages and provide a link to the ESTA Web site.
The ESTA requirement does not affect U.S. citizens returning from overseas, people from VWP countries traveling on a valid U.S. visa, or travelers from non-VWP nations.