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Policy and Global Affairs
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Board on International Scientific Organizations
Policy and Global Affairs
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street
Washington, DC 20001 USA
Tel: +1 202-334-2807
Fax: +1 202-334-2231

International Visitors Office
For visa-related issues, visit International Visitors Office

Contact the IVO

Tel:+1 202-334-2807
Fax:+1 202-334-2231

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The International Visitors Office (IVO)
 is a program operated by the Board on International Scientific Organizations. The IVO serves as a resource on visa-related issues for The National Academies, Academy members, as well as scientists and students traveling to the United States for professional activities.


If you are a visa applicant who would like more information on traveling to the United States under the current administration, please visit our IVO FAQ and resource page, Current U.S. Travel Questions and Concerns.

If you are an international student with questions about traveling to the U.S. for study, the NAFSA: Association of International Educators has created an excellent FAQ resource available here.

Note Regarding the Supreme Court Ruling on June 26, 2018
Though the United States Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold the travel ban, the International Visitors Office is still able to report the cases of students and exchange visitors from Iran to the Department of State. Iranian applicants traveling to the United States for purposes related to the sciences are encouraged to complete our IVO Questionnaire.

Responses to the March 30, 2018 Federal Register
In March 2018, two notices of concern appeared in the Federal Register: the Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260, OMB Control Number 1405-0185) and the Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for Nonimmigrant Visa (Form DS-160 and DS-156, OMB Control Number 1405-0182).

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine participated in two responses to these notices. The first was a joint letter signed by 56 professional societies and organizations, and can be read here. The second, a letter from the presidents of the NASEM, can be read here.

Special Note for Russian Nationals Applying for Non-Immigrant Visas to the United States:
Due to the Russian government's reduced diplomatic presence of U.S. personnel in Russia, the U.S. staff at the Moscow embassy and three consulates has been drastically cut and interview wait times may be lengthy. Currently, the American consulate in St. Petersburg is closed.

Our office recommends that Russian non-immigrant visa applicants schedule their interviews at embassies or consulates in neighboring countries if possible. For more information about these personnel cuts, please visit

Changes to U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
As of January 21, 2016, nationals from VWP countries who have, according to the U.S. Department of State website, "traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country)," or are also nationals of any of the countries listed above, are no longer eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. The IVO recommends that these nationals apply for a visa.

U.S. and China Visa Reciprocity 
The United States and the People’s Republic of China have reciprocally increased the validity of short-term business and tourist visas and student and exchange visas issued to each other’s citizens. Chinese applicants who qualify for a B-category nonimmigrant visa (NIV) may be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel. Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J-category visas are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their program. While Chinese visa applicants may apply for these extended validity lengths and multi-entry visas, the validity length and number of entries will be determined by the U.S. consulate. For more information, please consult the U.S. Department of State’s website

U.S. Visa Processing in Canada for Non-Canadian Residents
Non-Canadian residents, who are considering going to Canada to obtain a U.S. visa, should note the following message from the U.S. consulates in Canada: "With rare exceptions, visa applicants should apply at the U.S. Consular Section in their country of residence. If the applicant is not a resident of Canada, interviewing officers at the U.S. Consular Sections in Canada may not have experience in evaluating the circumstances in the applicant's country of residence. The applicant will, therefore, have greater difficulty establishing eligibility for a U.S. visa in Canada than would be experienced in the applicant's home country. A substantial percentage of visitors to Canada are denied visas under these circumstances. Consequently, visitors to Canada are strongly urged to apply for U.S. visas in their country of residence." For more details, please consult the website of the U.S. consulates in Canada.


The IVO Questionnaire collects information on visa-related issues from the scientific community. The data collected through the questionnaire will be used to track trends and report urgent visa cases in the sciences to the U.S. Department of State.

You are eligible to complete the questionnaire if:

  • You have applied for a B-1 or combination B-1/B-2 visa to attend a scientific conference, symposium, workshop, or other event related to professional development in your subject area, AND your visa has been undergoing administrative processing for at least 30 days since your visa interview.

  • You have applied for an F-1, J-1, H1-B, O-1, or other visa related to scientific work or study for science-related activities in the United States, AND your application has been undergoing administrative processing for 60 days since your visa interview.

Individuals who have applied for a tourist visa (B-2) or a dependent visa (such as F-2 and J-2) should not complete the questionnaire. Individuals with a visa case that was denied, rather than delayed, also should not complete the questionnaire. Finally, individuals with cases that have been processing for over one full year should not complete the questionnaire, and should instead reapply for a visa if interested.

*Note: Based on our experience, the IVO strongly recommends that applicants contact their consulate or embassy to begin the visa process as early as possible: at least four months prior to the event start date.





  Visa Information   

Questionnaire and Statistics

Meeting Organizer Resources
Travel to the United States
U.S. Visa Policy Resources

Current U.S. Travel Questions and Concerns

Contact the International Visitors Office
Tel:+1 202-334-2807
Fax:+1 202-334-2231


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