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AABB > Meetings & Events > Annual Meeting > Attendees > International Travel – Visa and Invitation Information

International Travel – Visa and Invitation Information 

Travel to the United States

With approximately 1000 international attendees at the AABB Annual Meeting, AABB is committed to being a resource of information for our international travelers. Below are a variety of links that will help prospective international attendees navigate through the waters of traveling to the United States.

Travelers from Visa Waiver Program Countries -- Effective since 2010, inbound travelers to the United States from Visa Waiver Program countries (click here for a listing) are required to register in an online database on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Web Site. International travelers from the Visa Waiver Program Countries must go to the site and fill out the application before entering the country by air or sea. If approved, the authorization is good for two years and can be renewed. Travelers no longer need to fill out the I-94W form before each trip. The new ESTA program is hoping to speed up the process for travelers, enable custom officials to screen passengers in advance and improve security. Travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries will be denied boarding if they have not filled out the application. Click here for the ESTA Web site and to submit your application.

Travelers from Non-Visa Waiver Program Countries – For attendees that are from countries that are not part of the Visa Waiver Program, you will need to apply for a visa at the American Embassy, Consulate or other visa-issuing office in their country of origin. To obtain a visa you will need a Letter of Invitation (see below), a valid passport, a photo ID and a completed Form DS 156 (nonimmigrant visa application form).

All visa applicants are advised to apply for their visa as soon as travel to the United States is contemplated, and not later than six months before the meeting. This means that international delegates should begin the visa process no later than April.

Official Invitation Letter

The Annual Meeting invitation letter is for health-care professionals who require a visa in order to attend the 2014 AABB Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These invitations imply no obligation, financial or otherwise, by AABB.

Click here to customize and print your invitation letter to the 2014 AABB Annual Meeting. To request an international invitation letter that is more customized to your specific needs, please email the AABB Education and Professional Department at professionaldevelopment@aabb.org or call +1.301.215.6482.

Click here to find out what documents you will need when crossing into United States Borders.

Click here for updates on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

US Visa Links

Visa Application Tips:

  • Apply EARLY! New screening processes are in place at all U.S. Embassies that could delay your application processing time. We suggest you begin the visa application process at least six months prior to your travel date. To determine typical wait times to secure an interview, contact the Consular Section of your local Embassy.
  • Visa applications are more likely to be successful if done in a visitor's home country than in a third country.
  • Present proof that you have strong ties to your country of residence. Proof may include documentation such as the following:
    - family ties in home country or country of legal permanent residence
    - property ownership - bank accounts
    - employment contract or statement from employer stating that the position will continue when the employee returns.
  • If possible, show proof that you have traveled internationally before and have returned within the time restrictions of your visa.

Be Prepared for Your Interview

Make sure you have all the necessary documentation with you at your interview. You will need the following:

  • A valid passport.
  • Appropriate visa application forms.
  • Your entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States, at the time of your visa application.
  • Documents detailing employment status, reason for travel and financial status. It is recommended that you provide an official letter of invitation from Show Management and proof of advance registration to attend the show. Proof of previous visits to the U.S.
  • Proof of professional scientific and/or educational status (students should provide a university transcript).
  • Proof of payment of visa fees.
  • Any additional documents required by your local Embassy or Consulate.

US-Visit Program

Launched in January 2004, the US Visit Program was instituted to protect the safety of US citizens and international visitors. All foreign visitors, regardless of country or origin and including the 35 countries from the Visa Waiver Program, will be photographed and fingerprinted upon arrival to a US airport or seaport. The quick and efficient processes take a few seconds in most cases. Click here for more information.

Visa Issues

If you have any specific problems, please contact the Bureau of Counselor Affairs at businessvisa@state.gov.

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