Learn more about ‘Science Knows No Borders,’ SfN's new program for abstract submitters who have been denied a U.S. travel visa.
Non-U.S. residents may need a visa to enter the United States for Neuroscience 2019. 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. If you are eligible to travel on the Visa Waiver Program, but prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a Business (B-1) visa. The countries below participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):
|Austria||Greece||Malta||South Korea, Republic of|
Eligible citizens or nationals, regardless of age, from all VWP countries must obtain approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and have an electronic passport prior to traveling to the United States aboard 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. 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. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers' passports were issued, other passport requirements may apply. Please visit the Department of State (DOS) website for the most up-to-date information, since policies are subject to change at anytime.
Citizens of Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda
Citizens of Canada traveling to the United States do not require a nonimmigrant visa if they are traveling directly from Canada for the purposes of visiting, tourism, and temporary business travel purposes. However, all Canadians entering the United States by air are required to have a valid passport. Canadians entering the United States by land or sea must have a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant travel document. Additional resources for Canadian visitors to the United States can be found on the United States Embassy and Consulates in Canada website.
Citizens and permanent residents of Mexico, including children, are required to present a passport with a nonimmigrant visa or border crossing card, known as a "laser visa" to cross the United States 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, visit 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 time frames. For up-to-date information, access the DOS website. Some consular sections provide helpful information, such as the checklist provided here which is specific to Chinese citizens.
The Society recommends the following guidelines for obtaining a visa for entry into the United States:
- Request a letter of invitation to attend Neuroscience 2019 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.
Requesting a Letter of Invitation from SfN
To request a Letter of Invitation from SfN, please complete the visa request form. To request a letter as an abstract presenter, check back in June after all presenters have been assigned a control number.
You must log into your SfN account to complete the visa request form. If you have never interacted with the Society (i.e. registered for the annual meeting, applied for an award, etc.) create an account now.
An SfN account is separate from an exhibitor login. To request a Letter of Invitation from SfN, exhibitors must first create an SfN account.