travel for international conferences - visas and travel authorisations


  • obviously to travel overseas, you will require a valid, current passport
  • in addition, you may need to apply for a travel visa depending upon the country you are visiting and duration of stay.

conferences in the United States

visa or travel approval

visa-free ESTA travel approval

  • be aware that you may need a US B1/B2 non-immigrant Visa, however, if you are an Australian citizen and comply with the other requirements, you may be able to bypass the rather onerous online and in person Visa application requirements, and instead just require an ESTA travel authorization (Visa Waiver Program or VWP) which can be completed online here AFTER you have a valid electronic passport.
  • ESTA does ask for carrier name, flight number and destination address but these are optional - see ESTA help
  • ESTA adds another layer of security that allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine, in advance of travel, whether an individual is eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and whether such travel poses a law enforcement or security risk.
  • In most cases ESTA will return an Application Status immediately. In cases where more time is needed to process an electronic travel authorization application, an answer will be usually returned within 72 hours.
  • DHS recommends that travelers print out the travel authorization application response in order to maintain a record of their traveler authorization application number and to have confirmation of their ESTA status.
  • Travel authorization approvals will typically be granted for a period of two years or until the applicant's passport expires, whichever is sooner.
  • You will need to get a new approval if either:
    • your ESTA approval has expired or will expire before your entry into the US.
    • you get a new passport
    • change your name or gender
    • change your citizenship
    • circumstances change relating to any of the questions (ie. communicable diseases, mental disorder, criminal offence, etc)
  • “Neither possession of a visa, nor meeting the basic requirements for traveling visa-free on the VWP, guarantees admission to the United States. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the port of entry.”
  • visa-free travel requires a passport with electonic data chip such as the latest Australian passports (these have a cardboard middle page which contains the data chip)
  • “Visa-free travel is not appropriate for journalists, crew members or those who plan to study, work, or remain more than 90 days.”
  • presumably visa-free travel is also not available if you have any of the following:
    • certain communicable diseases
    • mental health disorder
    • drug addiction
    • criminal record
    • been denied a US visa or had one canceled
  • disadvantages of visa free travel approval:
    • If you are admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, you may not change or extend your non-immigrant status.
    • If your admission is denied, you have no right to appeal a determination as to admissibility - you will be sent back to your country of origin via the same carrier you arrived upon.
    • If you are found to have violated the terms of your admission, you also have no right to review or appeal, other than on the basis of an application for asylum, any removal action arising from an application for admission under the Visa Waiver Program.

the Green Card

  • Foreign visitors to the United States complete an I-94 (white in color), if they hold a valid visa, or an I-94W (green in color), if traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
  • “The card is obtained from the transportation carrier and must be surrendered to an inspector of the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry in the United States when applying for admission. The inspector separates the bottom part of the card and attaches it to the passport. The part attached to the passport notes the date of entry to the United States and authorized period the visitor may remain in the country. When a visitor departs the United States, the transportation carrier representative, usually at the check-in counter, should remove the I-94 or I-94W from the passport. Sometimes due to an oversight the card is not removed. If this occurs, the passenger's departure from the United States will not be registered with the CBP. ”
  • “It is important to turn in your green I-94 (or I-94W) arrival/departure card when you leave the United States to officially record you departure. Failure to do so may falsely represent a violation of the terms of your admission to the United States.”
  • “However, if you departed by a commercial air or sea carrier (airlines or cruise ships), your departure from the United States can be independently verified, and it is not necessary to take any further action, although it is advisable to carry a copy of your outbound boarding pass (if you have it) and your I-94 with you when you next travel to the United States.”

arriving in the US

  • at your FIRST touch down on US soil - even if you are continuing directly on to another US city, you MUST collect your luggage from the luggage carousel, go through customs, put luggage onto luggage conveyor belt for next flight, go through security, then hastily make your way to your next flight!
  • at subsequent flight destinations, you do not need to go through customs again as you are now regarded as a domestic traveller until departing US.

conferences in European Union countries and the UK

conference_travel.txt · Last modified: 2019/11/21 23:46 (external edit)