American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
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Visitor Visas

On this Page:
Visa Waiver Program 
 - Electronic System for Travel Authorization
 - Machine-Readable Passports
Residents of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda
Visa Procedures
 - Letter of Invitation
US-VISIT Program
More Information and Useful Tips
Visa Problems

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business, for 90 days or less, without obtaining a nonimmigrant visa. For a list of participating countries and additional information about the program visit the U.S. Department of State's Visa Waiver Program webpage.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that assists in determining eligibility to travel to the United States under the VWP. ESTA is not a visa. VWP travelers must complete an ESTA application and receive notification of his or her acceptance prior to their visit. Obtain an ESTA now.

Machine-Readable Passports
All VWP travelers, regardless of age or type of passport used, must present a machine-readable passport. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers' passports were issued, other passport requirements may apply. Read more about machine-readable passport requirements.

Residents of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda
Canada, Mexico and Bermuda are not participants in the Visa Waiver Program. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires all travelers to and from the Americas, the Caribbean and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer's identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States. Visit the Department of Homeland Security's Crossing Boarders website for more information about proper documentation.

Under specific circumstances, citizens of Canada and Bermuda may need a visa. Consult the U.S. Department of State's website for more information about visa requirements

Visa Procedures
For those individuals who need to secure a visitor visa, the following links are helpful:

Letter of Invitation
Personalize the Academy's letter of invitation to assist in your visitor visa application process.

US-VISIT Program
The Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT program collects biometrics — digital fingerprints and photographs — from those that visit the United States to protect against identity theft and fraud. The US-VISIT program currently applies to all international visitors (with limited exemptions) entering the country. This includes visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program. Consult the Department of Homeland Security's website for more information and what to expect when you arrive in the United States.

More Information and Useful Tips
Visit the AAO International Attendees page for weather, currency, telephone, and other useful information.

Visa Problems
The Academy would like to hear from you if you have experienced any difficulties obtaining a visa in order to attend an AAO meeting. E-mail us to report any difficulties or to request additional documentation beyond the letter of invitation.

You may also report your case to The National Academies International Visitors Office by completing the Visa Questionnaire. Be sure to identify "American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting" in the "Purpose of Visit" field.