Important Information on Traveling to the U.S.
We want to make sure that the registration and visa application process will not slow you down. Before you do anything, make sure you secure your visa!
The U.S. government requires residents of many countries to obtain a temporary visa before entering the United States. Recent changes to the visa application process may have increased the length of time required to receive your visa, so it is very important to apply for your visa at least 90 days prior to your departure. The information below provides important links and details that should make the entire process easier for you.
Helpful Hints & Applying for Your Visa
- Review the U.S. Department of State Web site for changes to the visa process that may affect you.
- Register on-line and the registration process will allow you to automatically generate a Letter of Invitation from the American Meat Institute. You must complete your registration with payment in order to receive a letter of invitation.
- Apply for your visa as early as possible and at least 90 days prior to your departure date. Make this a priority.
- Check your passport expiration date to make sure it will be valid for at least six more months.
- If you already have a visa, check the expiration date to make sure it will not expire before your trip is completed.
- Complete one request for each person requiring a Letter of Invitation.
- Only requests submitted after registration has been submitted will be processed.
- Obtaining a Letter of Invitation will not guarantee that you will be approved for a visa. The letter is merely supplementary information that explains a visa applicant’s intended purpose to travel. U.S. Embassy officers look at the totality of an applicant’s personal situation in determining visa eligibility.
Scheduling Visa Interview Appointments
Specific wait times vary for visa interview appointments for each U.S. Embassy/Consulate. Wait times depend on location and time of year, but you can find out specific procedures and estimated wait times by checking your U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s Web site. Many visa interviews last only 3-5 minutes. It is very important that you have all the necessary documentation with you to ensure a successful interview.
Tips to Make Your Visa Interview Successful
- Provide a summary of employment history, experience and expertise associated with the purpose of travel in order to expedite the interview process.
- Take a copy of your registration confirmation, hotel reservation and flight itinerary.
- Make a list of the FMI Expo exhibitors you intend to meet with and/or a list of appointments already scheduled with exhibitors.
Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of 27 countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. VWP travelers must present a machine-readable passport (MRP) at the U.S. post of entry to enter the U.S. without a visa. Otherwise, a U.S. visa is required. Not all countries participate in the VWP. To obtain the complete list of exempt countries and learn more, visit the Visa Waiver Program Web site, http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html.
Visa Information for International Media
International members of the media should have a nonimmigrant media (I) Visa, since using the visa waiver program to work as a journalist in the U.S. will not guarantee entry. More information about the I-Visa can be found on the U.S. Embassy’s Web site for your home country. Visit the U.S. State Department’s Web site to find the appropriate Embassy’s Web site.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which began accepting voluntary ESTA applications on August 1, 2008. ESTA is a new fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States, and VWP travelers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States.