Obtaining a Visa for the WCRP OSC

Foreign citizens visiting the United States must obtain a visitor visa at least 90 days before travel unless they are from one of 36 countries eligible through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and meet the Program requirements. See the list of countries enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program and the requirements for Visa Waiver Program for more information.

If you are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, you must obtain a visa to attend the WCRP OSC.

Because you will be attending a conference on specific dates, you should apply for (B-1) type visa.

There are specific requirements that must be met by applicants to qualify for a visitor visa under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The consular officer at your local embassy or consulate will determine whether you qualify for the visa. For a listing of US embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions, see http://www.usembassy.gov/.

Visa Application Process

As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants, with few exceptions. Making an appointment for an interview is the first step in the visa application process. The waiting time for an interview appointment varies, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each US Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available at Visa Wait Times, and on most embassy websites. Please note that some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.

Three pieces of documentation plus a receipt for your visa application processing fee are required to get your visa:

1. The Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160

2. A valid passport with an expiration date at least 6 months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States; and

3. One (1) 2 inch x 2 inch photograph, which must meet the specifications

4. In addition to the three pieces of documentation, you will need to provide a receipt showing that the visa application processing fee has been paid when you arrive at your visa interview.

Additional documentation may be required by the embassy or consulate, so make sure to check the specific Embassy or Consulate’s website where your interview is scheduled.

Visa Fees

Two types of visa fees may be required:

1. Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing Fee
You will need to provide a receipt showing that the visa application processing fee has been paid when you come for your visa interview.

2. Visa Issuance Fee
If the country of origin charges US citizens a fee for issuing visas, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee. Please consult the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.

Visa Processing Time

The US State Department recommends that applicants traveling to scientific conferences apply for a visa no later than 90 days in advance of travel. Visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of review than in the past, so it is important to apply for a visa and schedule your interview well in advance of your travel departure date. Learn more by contacting the US embassy or consulate where you will apply for detailed “how-to” instructions.

Visa applicants will need to schedule an interview appointment as a first step in the visa process. Select visa wait times to see how long it will take to schedule an interview appointment at each US embassy and consulate abroad. Since wait times vary by embassy and time of year, we strongly encourage travelers to review this information, as it is updated weekly. Please note: Additional planning time beyond the guidelines above is 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 security clearances or administrative processing, which take place after the interview and may extend beyond the general timeframe guidelines.

If the interview appointment date provided is not early enough for the visa applicant’s intended travel, applicants may contact the US embassy or consulate to request an expedited appointment. The applicant should check the embassy website for the "how to" procedures for requesting an expedited appointment. (Some embassies may use slightly different wording, such as how to request urgent or emergency travel, as examples)

It is recommended that all requests for expedited appointments note the date when the applicant actually needs to travel and provide contact information (local telephone number) for the applicant. It should be noted that the decision by the embassy to expedite an interview appointment is discretionary and depends on several factors, including the urgency of the travel and the US national interests involved. Any expedite request should clearly explain why it is important (that is, explain what is at stake) to expedite the case.
If after searching the website or contacting a post directly you are unable to find information on requesting an expedited appointment at the embassy, the Business Visa Center (BVC) can work with the embassy or consulate to get the information to you.