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Passport & Visa Information

If you plan to attend the ATS 2017 International Conference and will be traveling to Washington D.C. from countries other than the United States, please be aware of the U.S. passport and visa policies for citizens and visitors.

Passports

Regulations require all persons traveling to the U.S. by air to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter the United States. Likewise, citizens of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central or South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda traveling to ATS 2017 by land or sea must present a valid passport to enter the U.S. For more information on these travel regulations, please click here.

Visas

Many citizens of Canada and of the 38 countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) (see box below) can travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa, as long as they meet certain requirements, which now include an approved authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA applications may be completed online and submitted at any time prior to travel.

In order to travel without a visa on the VWP, you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier. ESTA is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 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. Visit the ESTA webpage on the CBP website for more information.

If you are not a citizen of these countries or are not eligible to participate in the VWP, please click here, to find out how to obtain a visa. If you do not have access to the Internet, contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for further information.

Most countries will require visa applicants to provide supplementary information explaining the purpose of their travel. In this regard, providing a letter of invitation to ATS 2017 may be useful. Generate a customized letter or request that one be mailed to you by e-mailing your name, address, passport number, and arrival and departure dates to membership@thoracic.org.

YOU SHOULD SECURE YOUR VISA INTERVIEW AT LEAST 90 DAYS PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED DEPARTURE TO THE U.S. This will allow the necessary time for processing of both your application packet, and the visa.

Remember that having a U.S. visa allows you to travel to a port-of-entry—an airport, for example—but does not guarantee entry into the U.S. Once you arrive in the U.S., an official will need to interview you and verify your paperwork in order to grant you admittance to the country.

In an effort to assist international attendees, the ATS has posted the 2017 International Conference on the U.S. Department of State’s Intranet Listing for Conferences in the U.S.

Visa assistance programs with companies like Elite Security Services, International can also be of assistance to the international members and potential attendees who need to secure a visa and entry into the U.S., and can supply you with a checklist of recommended documents to secure and present at the time of your scheduled visa interview at the U.S Embassy or Consulate office.

“We have had tremendous success with assisting in the processing for U.S. entry of citizens from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries and citizens covered under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, as well as those arriving with permanent residence from countries that require a visa,” said Douglas K. daCosta, of ESS, International. “No matter where you are from, our Safe Travels program will provide you with the guidance to complete all required documentation, including a Non-Immigrant Visa Application or the new Online Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Application.”

For more information about the Safe Travels program with Elite Security Services, International, please visit their website [http://www.essigroup.com/], or contact Douglas daCosta directly at dkdacosta@essigroup.com.

Visa Tips for International Attendees

There are now some extra steps in the US visa waiver system. International attendees should check on the US State Department (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html) to learn more about the visa process and the visa waiver program. Please check with the US embassy in your country to determine whether there are any extra steps in the process for your country and any changes in the length of the visa process. In addition, the ATS offers a service to help those attendees having difficulties. You can contact the following individuals for assistance.

Douglas K. daCosta
ESS, International
925.219.2322
dkdacosta@essigroup.com

Fran Du Melle
Chief, Global Health, American Thoracic Society
fdumelle@thoracic.org

Visa Waiver Program Participants

If you are a citizen of the following countries, you may not need a visa to travel to the United States for ATS 2017. As of March 31, 2014, however, all travelers from these countries are required to register online [http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/] through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. And in January 2010, the Department of Homeland Security transitioned to enforced compliance of the ESTA requirement for VWP travelers. This means that travelers who have not obtained approval through the ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States.

As the countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program are subject to change in the coming months, the ATS encourages attendees to regularly check the ESTA Web site for updates.

Andorra France Lithuania Slovakia
Australia Germany Luxembourg Slovenia
Austria Greece Malta South Korea
Belgium Hungary Monaco Spain
Brunei Iceland Netherlands Sweden
Chile Ireland New Zealand Switzerland
Czech Republic Italy Norway Taiwan
Denmark Japan Portugal United Kingdom**
Estonia Latvia San Marino
Finland Liechtenstein Singapore

** To be eligible to travel under the VWP, British citizens must have the unrestricted right of permanent abode in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.