IDSM01 welcomes international participants; this page gives some practical information. Please familiarize yourself with travel requirements well in advance — and if you need a visa, apply early!
Do you need a visa?
Attendees from many countries will be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.
To take advantage of VWP, you need to register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before your trip.
In general you will need either a machine-readable passport or an e-passport containing a chip in order to visit the US without a visa. Most countries have been issuing them for the last several years. Here is the US Department of Homeland Security’s illustrated guide to the eligible generations of passports.
Consumer Protection Notice: Third parties who charge money for a “service” related to ESTA are not actually capable of expediting approval. The official US Government site above provides everything you need to enroll online in ESTA for a small fee.
Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda
The US has special arrangements with Canada and Bermuda and with Mexico.
- Most Canadian and Bermudan citizens will not need a visa. (A passport is technically not the only acceptable document for Canadian citizens; however, we recommend it as the surest and smoothest means of entry and return.) Please request, at the port of entry, status as a Visitor for Business (B-1).
- Mexican citizens would usually apply for a Border Crossing Card or “laser visa,” and bring their passport and Conference Registration Notice. Please request, at the port of entry, status as a Visitor for Business (B-1).
How do you get a visa?
Citizens of countries not participating in the Visa Waiver Program would request a Business (B-1) visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate. Call them them to set up an appointment. When you go to the Consulate, take a copy of your workshop invitation letter, along with your valid passport. We urge you to apply as soon as you can, because the process can take time.
Usually you would apply for a B-1 visa as a nonsponsored attendee of an international scientific workshop. The B-2 visa is for tourism and might be appropriate for companions who are not attending the conference.
The Travel site at the U.S. Department of State is the official source for information on visas and everything else you should know about visiting the US. Be sure to apply early!
Visa Letters and Other Helpful Documentation
If you need an official letter from us as part of your visa application, please email us. Official visa letters will be sent, upon request, to invited presenters and non-presenting would-be attendees. These letters do not imply financial support by the Workshop.
Copies of your round-trip itinerary, a printout of your invitation letter; evidence of your stature as a scholar (such as your curriculum vitae, including publications list), and evidence of your binding ties to your home country are also known to be helpful in obtaining a visa. Apply as soon as you can.
If you need to specify a “local contact” or “host” for your visa or institutional paperwork, we suggest
Administrative coordinator, IDSM01
LBNL, 1 Cyclotron Road, MS M/S 47R0112
Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
Further helpful advice may be found on the National Academies website.