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Visa alert

There have been reports indicating that some foreign scientists are having difficulty getting their visas processed in time to assure attendance at scientific meetings in the US. As a precaution, we suggest that member societies include the following information on websites, calls for abstracts and other conference related communications. US scientists going overseas are also encouraged to check with their respective universities for resources relating to travel and visa issues abroad EARLY IN THE PLANNING PROCESS, in the event of reciprocal delays.

As part of new security procedures, many visa applications are being sent to the State Dept. in Washington, DC, for review by a variety of federal agencies. Due to the number of visas being processed and heightened security concerns, this review can take as long as six to eight weeks, or longer, depending on the applicant’s country of origin. Therefore, scientists intending to come to the U.S. should apply for their visa AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE and to pay attention to US State Dept guidance on this matter. The US Nat’l Academies has a website containing information about this situation (

The most frequent reason that visitor visas are denied is because the applicant was unable to provide enough evidence, in the opinion of the consular officer, that he or she was not intending to immigrate to the US (per Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act). Therefore, we encourage you to pay particular attention to State Dept. advice on how to deal with this type of denial. For more information, see