Registration, Hotel, and Travel

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Passport & Visa Information

If you plan to attend the ATS 2019 International Conference and will be traveling to Dallas, Texas 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 2019 by land or sea must present a valid passport to enter the U.S. Please note that travel documents including supporting information (see visa section below) should use the full name as shown on your valid passport. 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.

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.

You should be prepared to provide supplementary information explaining the purpose of your travel with your visa application. In this regard, the following supplementary information is recommended:

  • A letter of invitation to ATS 2019. You may 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. Please be sure the letter of invitation is issued to the name as it appears on your passport and not the name that is in your ATS membership profile.
  • If you are a speaker or have an accepted abstract to ATS 2019, please include your acceptance letter with your supplementary information.
  • Please provide a letter from your institution, training director or employer stating that you have been given time to attend ATS 2019 and are expected back at your place of employment on (indicate the date). Be sure the letter uses the name that is on your passport.
  • Provide information on your ATS 2019 registration (confirmation number), hotel confirmation and flight information. Be sure you register with your passport name and that your hotel and airline reservations are also made in the name on your passport.

 

This supplementary information will demonstrate to the consular officer reviewing your visa file that you are serious about attending ATS 2019. It is very important that the name on all documentation in your visa application file matches the name on your passport.

 

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 review your documents and verify that all is in order to grant you admittance to the country.

In an effort to assist international attendees, the ATS has posted the 2019 International Conference on the U.S. Department of State’s Intranet Listing for Conferences in the U.S.

YOU SHOULD SECURE YOUR VISA INTERVIEW AS SOON AS YOU ARE ABLE TO COMPILE ALL OF THE NEEDED DOCUMENTATION. THE U.S. VISA PROCESS USES AN ELECTRONIC SYSTEM TO ASSIGN VISA INTERVIEWS AND THE WAIT TIME CAN BE AS LONG AS 2 – 3 MONTHS FROM THE REQUEST FOR AN INTERVIEW. DO NOT WAIT TO SCHEDULE YOUR INTERVIEW. IF YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR AN ABSTRACT SCHOLARSHIP, DO NOT WAIT FOR NOTIFICATION TO SCHEDULE YOUR VISA APPOINTMENT, YOU MAY CANCEL IT AT ANY TIME. You want to allow the necessary time for processing of both your application packet, and the visa, and if necessary, make an appeal should there be any issue with your application.

The ATS uses the visa assistance company Safe Travels, International, a division of ESS, International to provide visa assistance to ATS members and individuals who would like or need additional assistance with acquiring a visa to enter the US. Companies like Safe Travels intervene on behalf of individuals and potential attendees who need to secure a visa and entry into the U.S., or need advice on recommended documents to secure and present at the time of a scheduled visa interview at the U.S Embassy or Consulate office. Safe Travels can also be of assistance if there is difficulty in securing a visa interview.

“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, Safe Travels 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.”

“If it were not for Doug da Costa’s very professional assistance, I would not have been able to attend ATS 2018 and receive the MECOR Graduate Travel Award and present my abstract. He was invaluable in getting my visa appointment and walking me through the process to have the correct paperwork when the U.S. office closed in my country.”

Babatunde Awokola, MD, MPH
Medical Research Council, UK--The Gambia Unit

For more information about Safe Travels, International and ESS, International, please visit their website.

Please send any inquiries to Douglas daCosta at dkdaCosta@essigroup.com.

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 2019. As of March 31, 2014, however, all travelers from these countries are required to register online 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 Monaco South Korea
Belgium Hungary Netherlands Spain
Brunei Iceland New Zealand Sweden
Chile Ireland Norway Switzerland
Czech Republic Italy Portugal Taiwan
Denmark Japan Republic of Malta 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.

The citizens of the new countries of Curacao, Bonaire, St Eustatius, Saba and St Maarten (the former Netherlands Antilles) are not eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program if they are applying for admission with passports from these countries.