Travel

The Orange County Convention Center South Building will host the 67th ASHG Annual Meeting. The Convention Center is located at 9899 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. Telephone: (407) 685-9800.

Orlando


About Orlando

Orlando offers unique experiences for every visitor to ensure an unforgettable trip. Whether that means exploring theme parks, golf courses, or the outdoors, an Orlando getaway is whatever you want it to be. Learn more about Orlando on their customized ASHG microsite.

October Weather in Orlando: 85°F average high, 66°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=6.5%, Hotel Tax=6.0%.

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


Transportation and Parking

I-Ride TrolleyGetting to Orlando

Orlando is the hub for a wide array of national and international transportation options, ranging from major airline routes to intercity buses and train services. The Orange County Convention Center is located on International Drive, the resort area of Orlando, making it well connected to a variety of transportation options.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is located 15 minutes from the Convention Center. Learn more about airlines, flights, airport services, and security wait times by visiting the website at www.orlandoairports.net or calling (407) 825-2001. Another area airport is Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), located about 45 minutes away from the Convention Center.

To get from MCO to the Convention Center:

  • Taxis, which operate around the clock, are available on both the A-Side and B-Side of the terminal. It's a 15 minute taxi ride to the Convention Center (up to $45).
  • Ride-sharing services, like UberX and Lyft, are only permitted to drop off at MCO and cannot be scheduled for pickup service. Please see each service's website for additional information.
  • Hotel shuttles to select hotels are located on the B-Side of the terminal.
  • Mears Transportation and Super Shuttle provide shuttle service to the hotels.
  • LYNX is Orlando’s public transportation system and runs from the airport directly to the Convention Center. See the map and schedules for details.

Intercity buses and trains are another way to get to Orlando:

The Orange County Convention Center has compiled information on directions and parking.

Getting Around Orlando

The Convention Center is located on International Drive, close to shopping and restaurants. It is accessible by pedestrian bridge or the I-Ride Trolley. The area is close to both Downtown Orlando and the famous Orlando theme parks, located around Kissimmee. Many area hotels run shuttles to local attractions, and ride-sharing services (e.g., Uber and Lyft) and the LYNX bus system operate extensively throughout the region.

International Drive Area Visitors Map (PDF)
Downloadable Orlando Visitors Maps


Visa and Passports

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

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 without a visa, under the Visa Waiver Program. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form you usually complete en route to the U.S. DHS recommends that travelers submit an ESTA application as soon as they begin travel plans. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Unsure if you need to apply? See frequently asked questions for guidance.

Visas

ASHG 2017 attendees are encouraged to apply for visas as early as possible – at least 4 to 6 months before the visa is needed. Do not wait until your abstract is accepted to apply. Please check with your local U.S. consulate or embassy to find out the earliest that you may apply for a visa. Registration refunds will not be issued for denied visas. For further information, visit the State Department website.

A Note to Our International Colleagues

Proposed new travel restrictions to the U.S. threaten to have a serious impact on scientific research by blocking the free flow of ideas, collaboration, and findings. ASHG opposes policies that unduly hinder our community in crossing borders, and we believe our meeting and others are critical in moving global research forward and proving the value of an international scientific community. Although the current policies may change, we encourage our non-U.S. attendees to submit an abstract, obtain a letter of invitation, and apply for a visa as soon as possible to ensure the best possible chances of being able to attend.

Visa Application Tips

  • Start early: Register for ASHG 2017 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 completing your 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 you should first contact your 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 (VWP)

Some foreign meeting participants may not need visas if they are citizens of any of the 38 countries on the Visa Waiver Program. As of April 1, 2016, you must have an e-Passport to use the VWP. Without an e-Passport, you will be required to apply for a visa. All foreign visitors (including VWP travelers) will be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in the U.S.

The National Academies - U.S. Visa Policy Resources