International Services

Dulles International Airport

Visa and Passports

Your meeting registration confirmation will include a link to generate a customized letter of invitation. See the Letters of Invitation section below 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 United States. 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 & Application Tips

Due to ongoing delays in visa processing, ASHG 2023 attendees are encouraged to apply for visas as early as possible. Please check with your local U.S. consulate or embassy to find out the earliest that you may apply for a visa.

For further information, visit the State Department website.

ASHG Recommends:

  • Start early: Register for ASHG 2023 as soon as possible so that your customized letter of invitation can be generated. Registration opens May 5!
  • 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. If your abstract presents new information and follows the rules and guidelines, it will most likely 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

Travel VisaIf 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 40 countries on the Visa Waiver Program. 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

Visa Invitation Letters

Customized visa invitation letters can only be issued to confirmed registrants (those who have paid the meeting registration fees) or those who have submitted an abstract. When you register for the meeting, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to auto-generate a customized visa invitation letter. Please note that we offer full refunds and waive the cancellation fee to registrants whose attendance is barred due to visa denial.

If you are unable to register early enough to begin the visa process and have submitted an abstract, please email and note “I have submitted an abstract (insert your abstract number) but am unable to register at this time. Please provide a visa invitation letter.” Please note, visa invitation letters generated based on abstract submission are not more valid than one created by registering, and they are manually created thus may take significantly longer to receive.

You will need this letter when applying for a visa. All attendees are urged to apply for a visa as soon as possible. Waiting until you receive your abstract confirmation (which is not available until August) will delay your visa process and may result in your visa being denied.

For security purposes, visa invitation letters cannot be sent to people who have not submitted an abstract or registered.

Travel Awards and Cost Saving Suggestions

Please see our blog post on travel awards and cost saving suggestions.


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