If you are not a United States citizen and plan to attend an ASCO meeting, advance planning is critical. All non-US citizens should consider the following when making their plans to travel to the United States:
Do you need a visa?
As soon as travel to the US is considered, non-US citizens should identify whether a visa is needed.
Effective January 20, 2010, citizens of Visa Waiver countries may be unable to enter the United States without Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval from the US Government. For more information about how to apply for ESTA authorization, visit the US Customs & Border Protection website.
For non-US travelers who do need a visa to enter the United States, it is important that you begin the visa application process as soon as you register for an ASCO meeting. The application and interview process varies from country to country, and can take up to 90 days to complete. After you register for an ASCO meeting, you will be provided website link where you may request a visa letter of invitation.
When does your US visa expire?
If the traveler already has a US visa appropriate for this travel, check the expiration date on the visa to make sure it will not expire before the planned travel date.
When does your passport expire?
In many cases, a visa will not be issued if the traveler’s passport will expire prior to six months after the traveler’s planned entry into the United States. For example, the 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting begins June 1, 2012. Passports for non-US citizens traveling to the US for the ASCO Annual Meeting must not expire before December 1, 2012.
When should you apply for a US Nonimmigrant Visa?
Non-US citizens should apply for a US Nonimmigrant Visa within 90 days before the anticipated travel date. Visa processing times vary from country to country and can change depending on the time of year – average visa wait times can be found on the US State Department website.
How should you apply for a US Nonimmigrant Visa?
Visit the website of the local US Embassy or Consulate in your country to find out the process for applying for a US visa, and how long it will take. Visa applicants will need to schedule an interview appointment as a first step in the visa process.
Additional planning time beyond the guidelines above are needed for visa applicants applying at some embassies, due to the time required to schedule an interview appointment. Additionally, the wait times for a “Nonimmigrant Visa” do not include time for required security clearances or administrative processing, which may extend beyond the general timeframe guidelines.
For more information about obtaining a visa, please visit the State Department website.