INTERNATIONAL VISAS

NWFA requires all international attendees to register for NWFA Expo before obtaining a visa letter. Each international attendee is responsible for obtaining the appropriate government-required travel visa. Read the information provided by the U.S Department of State.

 

From the U.S. Department of State    

Coming to the U.S. – Visa Related Information for Prospective International Attendees

A U.S. visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a United States port of entry and request admission into the U.S. from a Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration officer. Since September 11, visa applications have been subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. The time frames for visa processing today are difficult to predict with accuracy for any individual applicant and could vary significantly by country and visa applicant. Advance planning on the part of travelers is essential to receive a visa in time for proposed travel dates to the United States.

For the 38 countries in the Visa Waiver Program, citizens meeting the visa waiver criteria will not need a visa, but they must have a machine-readable passport. [Review requirements]

Canadian citizens generally do not need a visa, but there are exceptions. [Review exceptions]

The type of visa the foreign citizen must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of travel. The U.S. Embassy Consular Section will decide, based on immigration law, about a particular applicant's eligibility for a given visa type from the information and documentation presented to the consular officer.

However, we can provide this information. As a general rule, excepting Canadian citizens and those who can travel on the visa waiver program, anyone who wants to attend a business, educational, professional, or amateur sports event, conference or meeting who is not a government official, will generally need a visitor visa (B1/B2). Media and journalists, including citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries, will generally need a media (I) visa. Government officials traveling for official purposes, representing their national government will need an A or G visa.

 

Advance Planning Is Critical

We recommend all international travelers consider the following when making their plans to travel to the United States:

– As soon as travel to the U.S. is considered, foreign travelers should identify whether a visa is needed. If the traveler already has a U.S. visa appropriate for this travel, check the expiration date on the visa to make sure it will not expire before the planned travel date.

– As a general planning guideline, if a visa is needed, an international traveler should apply for his or her visa as soon as possible, but generally no later than 60 calendar days before the travel date. If the conference is scientific in nature, or the applicant has a scientific background, the visa application should be made generally no later than 90 days in advance of the travel. Visa applicants will need to schedule an interview appointment as a first step in the visa process.

Please note: Additional planning time beyond the guidelines above are needed for visa applicants applying at some embassies, due to the time required to schedule an interview appointment. Additionally, the interview wait times do not include time for required clearances or administrative processing, which if needed, occurs after the visa interview, and in some cases time required may extend beyond the general time-frame guidelines.

 

Scheduling Interview Appointments

Use the U.S. Department of State's "Plan Ahead" tool to determine specific wait times for visa interview appointments. Since wait times vary by embassy and time of year, we strongly encourage travelers to review this information, updated weekly. Applicants should use the U.S. Embassy or Consulate directory to locate the most appropriate location through which to make an interview appointment. 

 

Requesting Expedited Interview Appointments

If the date provided for interview is not early enough for the traveler's intended travel, the applicant should follow procedures on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website to understand how to request an expedited (or emergency) appointment.

Consular Sections recommend all requests note the date the applicant needs to travel and contact information (local telephone number) for the applicant. Please note the decision to expedite an interview appointment is discretionary and depends on several factors, including the urgency of the travel and what U.S. national interests are involved. Consular sections will review the requests and grant expedited interview appointments within the constraints of their workload. Any expedite request should clearly explain why it is important to expedite the case.

 

Business Visa Center

The Business Visa Center provides visa information to U.S. businesses and organizations related to business (B-1) visitor visas.

 

Visa Process – Important Information

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), an applicant must overcome the presumption that he or she is an intending immigrant. An applicant must demonstrate to the consular officer's satisfaction that he or she has strong social and economic ties to his or her country of residence, plans to remain for a specific, limited period, has a residence outside the U.S., as well as other binding ties which will ensure his or her return abroad at the end of the visit.

An applicant may provide a summary of employment history, experience and expertise associated with the purpose of travel, particularly in cases where the applicant is recently employed or may have few years of work experience. It is important the applicant has access to sufficient funds to cover the entire trip. Applicants for non-immigrant visas must show they qualify on their own merit under provisions of U.S. immigration law, and not based on the assurances of others.

Meeting organizers may choose to include supporting documents in their communications with foreign meeting participants. Such documents are most commonly in the form of letters of invitation, though not required in the instructions for the visa application. To receive a visa invitation letter for the Wood Flooring Expo, email request to katie.schenk@nwfa.org.

Please note: Embassy Consular Sections overseas have sole responsibility for issuance of visas, and they generally are the first point of contact for visa processing status. Visa Services at the Department of State is not able to expedite interview appointments or the processing of visa applications.