Travel

The Baltimore Convention Center will host the 65th ASHG Annual Meeting. The convention center is located at One West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Telephone: 410-649-7000.

About Baltimore

Camden yardsRich in history and charm, Baltimore is easy to get to and easy to get around, with a walkable convention campus. Whether you're strolling around the famed Inner Harbor, exploring renowned attractions and museums, dining in its great restaurants, or shopping in nearby neighborhoods, you'll find Baltimore a delightful waterfront city. Learn more about Baltimore by visiting their customized ASHG microsite.

October Weather in Baltimore: 68°F average high, 52°F average low

Currency: U.S. dollar, credit cards, and travelers checks are widely accepted. See Currency Converter for details on current exchange rates.

Taxes: Sales Tax=5.0%, Hotel Tax=8.0%.

Time Zone: U.S. Eastern Time is 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-5).

Wi-Fi: Free wireless internet is now available for visitors to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, a few blocks from the Convention Center. The free wi-fi zone extends along the waterfront promenade from the Rusty Scupper to the west side of the World Trade Center. Free wi-fi and a free charging station are also available at the Baltimore Visitor Center.

Known as Charm City, Baltimore is unique. From its history to its people to the 'Bawlmerese' dialect, it is known for outstanding historical, cultural and culinary experiences. Baltimore is a very walkable city. Locations are clearly marked, with interpretive plaques and directional street signs.Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods each with a distinctive ambiance. Rebecca Hoffberger, founder of the American Visionary Art Museum, has said, “Here, one breathes air that once danced in the lungs of Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, H.L. Mencken, Edgar Allan Poe, Frank Zappa, John Waters and Divine.” Breathe the air of creativity and plan to attend the ASHG Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

Useful Resources for Baltimore and the Convention Center Area


Transportation and Parking

Airports

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is located 15 minutes from downtown Baltimore. It is serviced by 36 major, commuter, charter, and cargo airlines and receives more than 22 million passengers a year. Learn more about airlines, flights, and airport services by visiting the website at www.bwiairport.com or calling (410) 859-7111.

Other area airports include Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), both about 60 minutes away from downtown Baltimore.

Baltimore Inner HarborRegional Transportation: Getting to Baltimore

MARC: Baltimore/Camden Station on the MARC Camden Line is located in downtown Baltimore, two blocks south of the convention center. Baltimore/Penn Station, on the MARC Penn Line, is about two miles north of the convention center. MARC commuter rail services Baltimore, its suburbs, and nearby cities, including Washington, DC; College Park, MD; and Frederick, MD.

Amtrak: Amtrak stations in the Baltimore area include Baltimore Penn Station (BAL) and BWI Airport (BWI). Both stations are serviced by multiple Amtrak routes, including the Northeast Regional and Acela Express trains. Use the MARC, local transportation, or taxis to travel from these stations to the convention center.

Driving Directions and Parking

The Baltimore Convention Center has compiled information on directions and parking, and the city has assembled a map of parking locations in downtown Baltimore.

From the Northeast (Philadelphia and further north): Take I-95 S toward Baltimore and take exit 53 for I-395 N toward Downtown/Inner Harbor. I-395 N becomes S Howard Street. Continue on S Howard Street and turn right onto W Pratt Street. The convention center will be on the right.

From the Mid-Atlantic (Washington, DC and further south): Take the Inner Loop of I-495 (Capital Beltway) and take exit 27 for I-95 N toward Baltimore. Take exit 53 for I-395 N toward Downtown/Inner Harbor. I-395 N becomes S Howard Street. Continue on S Howard Street and turn right onto W Pratt Street. The convention center will be on the right.

From the North (York and Harrisburg, PA): Take I-83 S toward Baltimore. I-83 S becomes N President Street. Continue on N President Street and turn right onto E Lombard Street. Turn left onto Hopkins Place and then take the first left onto W Pratt Street. The convention center will be on the right.

From the West (Hagerstown and Pittsburgh, PA): Take I-70 E toward Baltimore. Take exist 91A-91B for I-695 S toward Baltimore/Glen Burnie. From I-695 S, take exit 11A-11B for I-95 N toward Baltimore. From I-95 N, take exit 53 for I-395 N toward Downtown/Inner Harbor. I-395 N becomes S Howard Street. Continue on S Howard Street and turn right onto W Pratt Street. The convention center will be on the right.

If you will be staying in downtown Baltimore during the meeting, consider parking at your hotel and walking or using public transportation to and from the convention center.

Local Transportation Options

B&O Railroad MueseumBaltimore offers many modes of economical and earth-friendly public transportation.

Taxis: Taxi service is available from BWI. Current fares are approximately $25-$35 each way. The following is a list of some of the taxi companies in Baltimore:

BWI Airport Taxi: (410) 859-1100
Yellow/Checker Cab: (410) 685-1212
Baltimore City Taxi: (410) 327-7777
Arrow Cab: (443) 575-4111
Diamond Cab: (410) 233-6000

Charm City Circulator: The Charm City Circulator, a fleet of free shuttles servicing four routes in Baltimore City, provides service every 10-15 minutes between the Baltimore Convention Center and other area neighborhoods via its Orange, Purple, and Banner Routes, including connections to light rail and metro subway stations. See the system schedule and route maps for more information.

Bus Service: Several local bus routes service the Baltimore Convention Center.

Light Rail: The Baltimore light rail system services the Baltimore Convention Center, as well as BWI airport, Baltimore Penn Station, and several local attractions.

Metro Subway: The metro subway system connects area neighborhoods and landmarks, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, to downtown Baltimore. It does not directly service the convention center; however, the Charles Center stop is three blocks away.

Downtown Baltimore Visitors Map (PDF)


Visa and Passports

Passport Information and Announcements

Requests for Letters of Invitation

Your abstract submission and meeting registration confirmations will include links to generate a customized letter of invitation. See the General Information section for details.

International Visitors

Visitors traveling to the U.S. must present a valid passport. It is suggested (and in some cases required) that your passport have at least six months left before it expires from the date that you will be traveling abroad. Before entering the U.S., all foreign visitors are responsible for ensuring that they have the required documents necessary, whether they are traveling through to another country or returning to their country of origin.

Procedures for International Visitors

Baltimore AquariumVisitors traveling to the United States from all foreign countries (including the visa waiver countries) are required to register their personal details online at least three (3) days in advance of travel. Individuals traveling on valid visas are not required to apply. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a free, automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form you usually complete en route to the U.S. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. DHS recommends that travelers submit an ESTA application as soon as they begin travel plans. Unsure if you need to apply? See frequently asked questions for guidance.

Visas

ASHG 2015 attendees are encouraged to apply for visas as early as possible. Registration refunds will not be issued for denied visas. As part of security procedures, applications for visas are sent to the U.S. State Department for a security review. For further information, visit the State Department website.

Note: ASHG advises scientists traveling to the U.S. to apply for a visa as early as possible -- at least six months before the visa is needed. Please check with your local U.S. consulate or embassy to find out the earliest that you may apply for a visa.

Tips for the visa application process:

  • Start Early: Register for ASHG 2015 as soon as possible so that your customized letter of invitation can be generated.
  • Apply for your visa four (4) to six (6) months before traveling. You should provide your entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States, at the time of visa application.
  • If completion of travel plans is contingent upon early approval of the visa application, specify this at the time of the application.
  • Provide proof of scientific status (e.g., proof that you submitted an abstract for the meeting). Do not wait until you receive notification that your abstract submission has been accepted before applying for a visa. It is very rare that ASHG denies an abstract. If your abstract followed the rules and guidelines, it will be accepted and programmed.
  • Bring your English-language resume or CV with a list of published articles and research topics to the U.S. consulate/embassy interview.
  • Provide evidence that you intend to return to your country of residence. This includes such information as:
    • family ties in current country of residence
    • property ownership
    • bank account
    • employment contract or statement from an employer showing that your position will continue after the dates of travel
  • Requirements vary by passport-issuing country and citizenship (not merely residency). Some consulates may have backlogs in scheduling visa interviews, so applicants should first contact their local consulate to determine what the wait times are for visa interviews. Check the current list of visa interview and processing wait times by country.

Visa Problems

If your visa has not received approval at least two weeks prior to the start date of the Annual Meeting, you should complete the Visa online questionnaire. Eligibility requirements are listed before you begin. Please note that individuals who have applied for dependent visas (such as F2 and J2) should not complete this questionnaire.

Visa Waiver Program (WVP)

Some foreign meeting participants may not need visas if they are citizens of any of the countries on the Visa Waiver Program. ALL citizens of the Visa Waiver Program are required to have Machine-Readable Passports (MRP) in order to travel to the United States without a visa. Without an MRP, you will be required to apply for a visa. All foreign visitors (including Visa Waiver Program travelers) will be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in the U.S.

The National Academies - U.S. Visa Policy Resources