Visa Information

It is never too early to start working on getting your visa. It can take as long as four months to get a visa to enter the United States. Please check with your local American Embassy or Consulate to obtain the necessary documents as soon as possible. Please visit to obtain more information regarding visas and machine-readable passports.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, when they meet all requirements. Travelers must be eligible to use the VWP and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. If you are eligible to travel on the VWP, but prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa. Transiting or traveling through the United States to Canada or Mexico is generally permitted for VWP travelers. The following are examples of activities permitted while in the United States on the VWP.


  • consult with business associates

  • attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference

  • attend short-term training (you may not be paid by any source in the U.S. with the exception of expenses incidental to your stay)

You must be a citizen or national of VWP-participant country. Please click here to see if your country participates in the VWP.

Canada, Mexico and Bermuda are not participants in the Visa Waiver Program. The Immigration and Nationality Act includes other provisions for visa-free travel for nationals of Canada and Bermuda under certain circumstances. Since they are not part of the Visa Waiver Program, VWP requirements for machine-readable or biometric passports do not apply to nationals of Canada, Mexico or Bermuda. Also, it should be noted that some nationals of Canada and Bermuda traveling to the United States require nonimmigrant visas.

The International Visitors Office (IVO), a program operated by the Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO) at The National Academies, is encouraging meeting participants to bring their English-language resume with a list of their published articles and research topics to the U.S. consulate/embassy interview.

Meeting participants who do not have their visas issued within 14 days of the meeting’s start can complete the IVO Visa Questionnaire, located at Qualifying individual cases reported through the survey will be brought to the attention of the U.S. Department of State.