Visa and Travel Matters


Visa Information and Invitation Requests

Because of the number of visa applications and the need for thorough security reviews, the visa application process can take several months depending on the country of origin. It is strongly encouraged travelers to apply for their visas as early as possible.  



Passport Requirements to Enter the United States


  • As of 31 December 2006, anyone traveling to or from the US via air or sea from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda must have a passport or other secure, accepted document to enter or re-enter the US.
  • As of 1 June 2009, the above requirement extends to all land border crossings, as well as air and sea travel.
  • Beginning 12 January 2009, visitors to the U.S. from visa-waiver countries, most of which are in Europe, will be required to register online and to be screened and authorized for entry. The European Commission is considering a similar system later for visitors from the U.S. and other countries. The new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was ordered by the Department of Homeland Security to identify visitors who might be a threat. Authorization is good for two years or until one's current passport expires. The initial registration can take place any time before the first trip to the U.S. after the system goes into effect.


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Online Resources

Register Online for entry to the United States
U.S. Department of State Visa information home page:
Estimated wait times for interview appointment and visa processing:
Do you need a visa? See information for temporary visitors to the United States:
U.S. State Dept. Temporary Visas:
Department of Homeland Security:

National Academy of Sciences:


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Letter of Invitation

Individuals requiring letters of invitation to obtain travel visas must be conference chairs or authors of accepted papers to receive an invitation letter. If you are in need of an Official Invitation Letter from the 33rd IEEE Sarnoff Symposium 2010 for visa application purposes, please fill out and send the Word document - Click to download Invitation Letter Request Form

  • Please fill out a separate form for each person requesting a letter.
  • Send electronically to email address provided on the form.
  • All letters of invitation will be sent by regular airmail or by email (as a PDF attachment) unless a courier account number or credit card number with expiration date is provided with the original request.
  • Please allow up to 6 business days to process your request.
  • IEEE and the Symposium Technical Committee can not contact U.S. Embassies in support of an individual attempting to gain entry to attend the meeting.

NOTE: We recommend that you secure your travel visa before registering for the conference as cancellations after the pre-registration cutoff may result in a cancellation fee.


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Visa Guidelines

Because of the number of visa applications and the need for thorough security reviews, the visa application process can take several months. It is strongly encouraged travelers to apply for their visas as early as possible.
Contact the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy for details on visa application procedures.
Guidelines for Successful Visa Applications:

  • Visa applicants are expected to provide evidence that they are intending to return to their country of residence. This may include documentation of the following:
    • family ties in home country or country of legal permanent residence
    • property ownership
    • bank accounts
    • employment contract or statement from employer stating that the position will continue when the employee returns
  • 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, and how travel and local expenses will be covered
  • If travel plans will depend on 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)
  • Any evidence that establishes a prior record of business travel to exhibitions and other events is helpful. A photograph of an applicant staffing an exhibit booth, receipts for admission, purchases of goods and services to support an exhibit booth at an event, are all potentially valuable evidence that may tip the balance in favor of visa approval.


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