Visa Information

The following information is available:

Citizens of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda
Obtaining a Visa
Requesting a Letter of Invitation from SfN

Non-U.S. residents may need a visa to enter the United States for Neuroscience 2014. If you already have a U.S. visa, check the expiration date to ensure your visa will not expire before or during your planned travel dates. Citizens of countries meeting the visa waiver criteria do not need a visa to enter the United States but if you prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a Visitor "B" visa. The countries below participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

Andorra Germany Luxembourg Slovenia
Australia Greece Malta South Korea, Republic of
Austria Hungary Monaco Spain
Belgium Iceland The Netherlands Sweden
Brunei Ireland New Zealand Switzerland
Czech Republic Italy Norway Taiwan
Denmark Japan Portugal United Kingdom
Estonia Latvia San Marino  
Finland Liechtenstein Singapore  
France Lithuania Slovakia  

Effective January 20, 2010, in order to travel without a visa on the VWP, you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound carrier. ESTA is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) automated web-based system to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business. Eligible citizens or nationals from all VWP countries must obtain approval through ESTA and an electronic passport prior to traveling to the United States. VWP travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air, land, or sea carrier bound for the United States.The Department of Homeland Security is enforcing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) requirement for VWP travelers.

All ESTA registration applications or renewals on or after the date of September 8, 2010, will require a $14 fee. All visitors are required to register online before travel under the ESTA. Effective December 22, 2011, the ESTA application requires the traveler's country of birth information. This requirement applies to new applications filed on or after December 22, 2011. For more information regarding ESTA, or to apply for authorization to travel to the United States, visit the ESTA website.

All VWP travelers, regardless of age or type of passport used, must present a machine-readable passport. As of Oct. 26, 2006, any passport issued on or after this date by a VWP country must be an e-Passport, which includes an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic information from the data page to be eligible to enter the U.S. without a visa. Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended between Oct. 26, 2005 and Oct. 26, 2006 must include digital photographs printed on the data page or integrated chips with biographic information from the data page. The Department of Homeland Security is enforcing this policy to the fullest extent. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers’ passports were issued, other passport requirements may apply. Visit the DOS website.

Citizens of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda

Citizens of Canada traveling to the United States do not require a nonimmigrant visa. Effective June 1, 2009, Canadian citizens traveling to the U.S. are required to present a Canadian passport or an Enhanced Driver's License/Enhanced Identification Card. Pre-approved travelers can speed their entry into the U.S. under one of the Trusted Traveler Programs.

Mexican citizen visitors, including children, are required to present a passport with a nonimmigrant visa or border crossing card (BCC), known as a "laser visa" to cross the U.S border The Border Crossing Card, Form DSP-150 is a biometric, machine readable card that is a combined visitor B1-B2 visa/Border Crossing Card. This requirement applies to SENTRI program members as well.

Citizens of Bermuda traveling to the United States do not require a nonimmigrant visa for travel up to 180 days. Additionally, these citizens do not require a visa unless they are ineligible for a visa under U.S. immigration law or have previously violated the terms of their immigration status in the United States.

For more information on entry and visa requirements for citizens of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda, read about the DOS Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port of entry have the authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.


Obtaining a Visa

After identifying that a visa is needed, foreign travelers should contact the U.S. Embassy Consular Section in their country to determine visa processing timeframes. Look for posted timeframes on the Internet or call the Consular Section to hear recorded information about visa processing timeframes. For up-to-date information, access the DOS website.

The Society recommends the following guidelines for obtaining a visa for entry into the United States:

  • Request a letter of invitation to attend Neuroscience 2014 from SfN, approximately four months prior to the meeting.
  • Apply early. The visa application process takes three to four months to complete.
  • Applicants should present their entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States, at the time of visa application.
  • If completion of travel plans is contingent upon early approval of the visa application, specify this at the time of the application.
  • Provide proof of scientific status. 
  • Provide meeting brochure and letter of invitation.
  • Provide evidence that you intend to return to your country of residence; applicants should provide proof of "binding," or sufficient ties to their home country or permanent residence abroad. This may include documentation of:
    • Family ties in home country or country of legal permanent residence
    • Property ownership
    • Bank accounts
    • An employment contract or statement from an employer stating that the position continues after the meeting.

As of Sept. 30, 2004, all foreign visitors (including VWP travelers) will be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in the United States. A visa applicant who refuses to be fingerprinted would have his or her visa application denied on the basis that it is incomplete. However, an applicant who then later decided to provide fingerprints would have his or her application re-considered without prejudice.


Requesting a Letter of Invitation from SfN

To request a Letter of Invitation from SfN, please complete the visa request form.