Visa Information for
academic visitors to the United States

(conference and meeting participants, students, visiting scholars)

The United States of America has recently changed a number of requirements for visiting the country for academic purposes. Among the changes are stricter and more time-consuming procedures to obtain visas, and a requirement to carry machine-readable passports for visa waiver programs. Please refer to the links below for comprehensive information:
International travel to meetings held in the U.S.

  • General information about visas

The U.S. State Department requires citizens of many countries to obtain visas to attend a scientific meeting. In addition, citizens from visa waiver program (VWP) countries will require machine-readable passports or visas after 1 October 2003.

The MARGINS Office urges anyone intending to attend a meeting - not just MARGINS meetings - in the U.S. to apply early. Visa applicants should apply at least 3 months in advance. Security-related policies have greatly increased the processing time for visa applications. U.S. consular officers will now be interviewing most applicants as part of the application process.

Information and the procedures to follow to obtain a visa or a machine-readable passport. This site includes suggested actions in the event of a visa delay or denial:

  • National Academies Visitors Office: Traveling to the United States
Studying in the U.S.

Website explaining regulations, procedures and visa requirements for studies in the USA

  • Destination USA - Secure Borders - Open Doors


  • Effective 2 August 2003: special international in-transit programs suspended
  • Effective 1 October 2003: Visa Waiver Program travelers must have machine-readable passports
Last updated Monday, January 31, 2005