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International Attendees of RSNA 2011 May Need Visitor Visas

International Attendees of RSNA 2011 May Need Visitor Visas

International Attendees of RSNA 2011 May Need Visitor Visas


The Radiological Society of North America annual meeting is one of the leading international meetings for radiologists and imaging professionals. Last year, more than 9,000 international attendees from more than 100 countries made the trek to Chicago’s McCormick Place. International visitors now make up almost 35 percent of professional attendees at the meeting.

If you too decide to join your countrymen and attend RSNA 2011, you may need a non-immigrant Visa. A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States (U.S.) generally must first obtain a U.S. Visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

Under a new program, nationals from 36 countries may be eligible for Visa waivers for business or tourism travel to the U.S. To see if you qualify, visit the Visa waiver information page of the U.S. State Department.

For those who need a non-immigration Visa, you will need to fill out the appropriate non-immigration Visa application form, which you can submit online, and make an appointment for a interview at a U.S. Consulate, Embassy or Diplomatic mission. At the Visa interview, you will need documentation of the reason for your trip, a photo, and documentation of your intention to return to your home country. To help smooth the process, here are some tips:

Tips for Successful Visa Applications

  • Early planning helps. If you must apply for a temporary non-immigrant Visa to attend RSNA, it is always best to apply as soon as you think you may travel to the United States and not later than 3-4 months in advance. All applicants must be able to qualify for a Visa on their own merits under the requirements of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. Wait times for a non-immigrant Visa interview varies from country to country. To get an estimate, the Travel.State.Gov website provides a wait-time calculator.
  • At the interview, applicants should present their entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States.
  • A Visa photo is essential and must meet specific size specifications. For information on obtaining a photo that meets the requirements, check the Photograph Requirements at the Travel.State.gov website.
  • While a Visa letter of invitation is not required for the Visa application, it can provide an additional assist as a supporting document. Present the letter of invitation from RSNA to the consular officer during the Visa interview. This letter by no means guarantees admittance into the U.S., but can provide compelling evidence for immigration officials to consider. RSNA has an easy-to-use online application for an official letter of invitation for RSNA 2011 attendees. Click here to go directly to the online form. It takes 10 to 15 business days to process the application for the letter of invitation after you submit your application.
  • Important to note, while the letter may be helpful, the RSNA cannot intervene with either U.S. embassies abroad or with the U.S. State Department on behalf of any participant.
  • If you are a member of RSNA, be sure to include your membership info in your application for your Visa, or if you are not a member, show your meeting registration info. If you don’t have either of those, provide proof of professional scientific and/or educational status.
  • You must also provide evidence that you will be returning to your home country.
  • Finally, there may be fees for Visa applications and processing depending on the country of origin. You can check the fees that may apply for your country at the Travel.Stage.gov webpage on reciprocity by country, which offers a quick look-up directory of fees.

For more useful tips, here are some websites you may find useful:
The U.S. State Department Website offers useful online Visa and Travel information to help you with your travel plans to the U.S, including How to apply for a Visa, online application for a Visa, a handy link guide to the websites of most embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions.

Travel tips for getting through airport security, currency conversion are available through the Transportation Security Administration website and xe.com.

The RSNA also offers an international travel package that takes care of many of the international travel details for you through the Paris-based travel agency ESA Voyages. Packages include: hotel room, airport transfers in Chicago, baggage handling at the hotel, daily American breakfast, local taxes and multi-lingual staff travel assistance.

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