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Oct 19, 2011

Visa 'Invitation" Letters

Visa applications are subject to a great deal of scrutiny around the world. Often applicants are required to appear in person for an interview as part of the visa application process. Since the applicant may only be informed of this additional screening at the time they submit their application, it is recommended that they apply no later than three (3) months prior to the conference. This is why it is so important to provide the visa “invitation” letter promptly; it is equally important to provide a properly written visa letter.

Visa letters are not to be treated lightly.

• The visa letter should never be placed on a conference website for downloading.

• The conference organizer may post a request form for a visa letter on the conference website.

• All visa letters must be signed by the Conference General Chair.

• Visa letters may be sent to Speakers/Presenters, Committee members and attendees who have registered and paid their registration fee in full.

• Visa letters should not be sent to a requester who is from one of the countries embargoed by the U.S. Department of State. The list of sanctioned notation is kept up-to-date on their website, http://travel.state.gov.

Visa letters should include only the facts:

• Conference title, dates and location.

• The role the person who is requesting the letter has at the conference such as committee member, speaker, presenter, or attendee.

• Confirmation that the requester has paid the required registration fee in full. You must verify that the payment clears before providing letter to the requestor.

The following article, Senate Committee Aproves Legislation to Improve Visa Policies, regarding improvements in the visa process was taken from the September 2011, Meetings Focus e-Newsletter and may be of interest to conference organizers.