The visa application process to enter the United States has become subjected to greater degrees of scrutiny than in the past. For this reason, the application process can take up to six months or more. You will need to apply for your visa as early as possible but no later than three months before you wish to enter the United States.
Personal Interviews can be critical to successfully and efficiently obtaining a visa to enter the United States
. One factor contributing to the increase in the processing time is a personal interview that is now required for most applicants as a standard part of visa processing. Group interviews are not recommended. Applicants need to be prepared to clearly present their intent to return from the U.S. as well as explain in detail how they will be spending their time while in the United States. It is not enough to just state “I will be attending a meeting”. Embassies are looking for more details as well as documents and information that demonstrate and support these intents.
Individuals are strongly encouraged to contact the embassy or consulate to schedule a personal interview
as soon as it is known a visa is necessary for travel. OSA is not able to contact U.S. embassies in support of an individual attempting to gain entry into the host country to attend the conference.
For detailed information about applying for a visa refer to the U.S. Department of State website
and the National Academies International Visitors Office website
Visa Waiver Program
There are 27 countries
that participate in the Visa Waiver Program. If your country is on this list, and you are traveling to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less with a valid passport that meets U.S. requirements, and the listed conditions do not apply to you, you do NOT need a visa. Otherwise, you need to obtain a visa.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Travel Guide
Visa Waiver Program Frequently Asked Questions
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
As of 12 January 2009, all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries will be required by law to obtain a travel authorization prior to initiating travel to the United States under the VWP. This authorization may be obtained through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a free internet application administered by the Department of Homeland Security through a U.S. government Web site
Letters of Invitation
Imaging and Applied Optics Letter of Invitation Request Form
Important information regarding Topical Meeting Visa Invitation Letters (please read):
Invitation letters take OSA Management 7-10 days to process. Please fill out all the required information on the form completely to the best of your ability. If you are presenting a paper, include the title and session in which the paper will be presented, or if you are exhibiting, please indicate so in your request. Please note that each individual requesting an invitation letter must fill out a separate form. All letters will be sent in PDF form to the email address provided. If a paper letter is required, please respond to the email. Requested paper letters will be sent complimentary through airmail. This option may take a few weeks to arrive. If you wish to expedite the process, letter will be spent through Federal Express with the recipient’s Federal Express account number or credit card number with an expiration date, please also include your billing address in the request email. OSA Management reserves the right to request further information regarding the company or affiliation of the attendee to ensure the validity of requests. Meeting attendees do not need to wait until your paper is accepted to request a Visa Invitation Letter. Individuals requiring letters of invitation to obtain travel visas must apply using the online form
If you have any questions about the visa invitation letter application process, please contact:
Fax: +1 202.416.6100
Mail: OSA Management – Invitation Letter
Optical Society of America
2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036