See also the similar travel.state.gov summary and that for Neuroscience 2004
- Update from Neuroscience 2005 (35,000-person conference): they had some trouble in 2004 with Canadian nationals from China, et al (not from Chinese citizens living in China, nor attendees from the mid-east). This year (2005), they have had no trouble.
- Update from Al Teich @ AAAS : they have had much more luck in recent months; 2002 was the worst. The only significant troubles came from Iran, Syria, & Cuba.
Who needs a visa to enter the US?
If you are not a resident of the United States, you may need a visa to enter. If you already have a visa, make sure it will not expire before the end of your trip. Citizens of the following 27 countries do not need a visa to enter the US:
 Providing you meet the visa waiver criteria:
- a) You must have a machine-readable passport
- b) Any passport issued after October 26, 2005 must include a digital photo
- NB: Biometric passports will not be needed before at least October 26, 2006. Details at www.travel.state.gov
Information for Canadians
Canadian citizens generally do not need either visa or passport to enter the US. All travelers should bring evidence of their identity (e.g., a government photo-id) and citizenship (e.g., a passport; or a birth or citizenship certificate). Fiancees of US citizens, or spouses of US permanent residents, may need a visa even if they are Canadian citizens — especially if they are coming to the US to await final immigration status. For details, see usembassycanada.gov.
Getting a visa
To get a visa, contact the nearest US Embassy to find out how long the process will take (generally anywhere from 3 to 45 days). Approximate wait times can be found at travel.state.gov.
Some guidelines for painless visa processing:
- Ask us for a letter of invitation, as soon as possible. [add link to request page/email]
- Start applying for a visa early, ideally 4+ months in advance. The basic visa process will not take this long, but you will want time to resubmit the application if necessary, and to buy your tickets after the visa has been granted.
- Prepare for your visa interview/application. You should have
- Your entire travel itinerary, from when you leave your country to when you return
- Note that your travel plans depend upon early approval of the visa application
- Your invitation, and printed information about the conference
- If you are getting financial support to attend the conference, make sure you have printed documentation of this as well.
- Proof of association with Wikimania (information about you as a researcher, wiki-developer, Wikipedian, &c.)
- Evidence that you will return home -- that is, of "binding or sufficient" ties to your home country (normally your country of residence). Useful examples include:
- * evidence of family ties in your home country
- * evidence of property ownership
- * evidence/statements of bank accounts
- * an employment contract or letter from an employer demonstrating you have employment beyond the end of your trip
- * evidence of attending school, or a letter from a school official demonstrating you will be a student there beyond the end of your trip
Getting visa help
A letter of invitation alone does not guarantee you will be issued a visa. If you have followed the above steps, and your visa application is rejected, let us know immediately. Immigration officials in Massachusetts will contact your embassy to try to overturn the rejection.
If you cannot affort the cost of visas or related fees, let us know. Financial assistance is available.