Visa Procedures

These are guidelines only. Full details can be found at the US Department of State Information About US Visas website.
Visitors Eligible for Visa Waiver Program

You may be eligible to visit the US without an immigrant visa if you are traveling for tourism or business, for up to 90 days, with a passport issued by one of the following countries, which participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

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

Note: Eligible Taiwan passport holders may travel to the United States without visas under the Visa Waiver Program as of November 1, 2012.

All VWP travelers will be required to obtain an authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program before traveling to the United States.

Travelers from these countries cannot work or study while in the United States and cannot stay longer than 90 days or change their status to another category. Eligible nationals of these countries are able to travel without an immigrant visa for tourist and business travel of 90 days or less provided they possess an e-passport and an approved authorization through ESTA. ESTA is a free, automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the VWP. ESTA applications may be completed online. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. If the application is approved, a visitor can then apply for an I-94W 90-day visa when entering the United States. Learn more about ESTA on the DHS Customs and Border Protection website.

Other Visitors

If you are traveling to the United States with a passport issued by any other country, you must apply for a visa. Please read these procedures carefully:

  1. To apply for a visa, you must have a "letter of invitation." SC will issue letters of invitation as part of the registration process. Thus, the first step is to register. SC13 registration will open July 17, 2013. Check SC13 web site.

    When you register for the conference listing an address outside the United States, if your country does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program (see list above), you will need a letter of invitation. You must register and pay (in full) your registration fee for SC13. Once you have registered, you receive a confirmation number. You then need to return to the registration site and use the confirmation number to print your visa letter. Click on the button Print a Visa Letter of Invitation and your letter will appear.

  2. After you receive the letter of invitation, call your local United States embassy or consulate to arrange an interview. For information on the embassy or consulate closest to you, see Links to United States Embassies and Consulates Worldwide. We recommend that you visit the embassy or consulate a month before you begin the visa process, in order to obtain the necessary literature, forms, etc.
  3. When you go to the embassy or consulate for your interview, you will be asked to pay a nonrefundable application fee and submit the following materials:
  • Your letter of invitation to attend SC13.
  • A signed, completed application. The application form is available at all embassies and consulates for no charge.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States at least six months beyond your intended stay in the US.
  • Two photographs, 1.5 inches square (37 x 37 millimeters), showing your full face, without head covering, against a light background.

    SC cannot assist you with the interview process, nor can anyone representing SC call the embassy or consulate on your behalf to provide support for granting a visa. As an applicant for a non-immigrant visa, you must convince the consular officer that you:

  • Are entering the United States for pleasure.
  • Plan to remain in the United States for a specific, limited period.
  • Have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties (employment, family, home, bank account) that will ensure your return when you complete your visit to the United States.
  • Have the funds to pay for your entire trip.

    If you are denied a visitor visa, you may re-apply if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. In the absence of new evidence, consular officers are not required to re-examine such cases.

Due to the fact that an application for a visa can be a lengthy process, SC13 recommends that you start your visa application process early: 90 to 120 days prior to the conference. If the application is approved a visitor can then apply for an I-94W 90-day visa when entering the US. If you have specific questions that are not covered here, please see US Department of State Visa Information.