2010 Global Sustainability Summer School-U.S. Visa Requirements

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

2010 Global Sustainability Summer School


The Global Sustainability Summer School is in its second year. Last year, most foreign participants entered the U.S. with no problems. However, it is very important to determine any visa needs you may have well in advance of your visit. We strongly advise you to check with authorities in your own country to determine whether you will need a visa to come to the program, and if so, to determine which visa status is best for you. Please do not request a Tourist Visa.The following information about visa types may be helpful.

VISA WAIVER (WB or WB/WT): Citizens of some countries (most European Union countries) may be able to enter the U.S. for stays of up to 90 days without a visa (a valid passport is still required). In addition to citizenship in one of the visa waiver countries, there are a number of other eligibility requirements that must be met. Please contact the U.S. Embassy in your country to determine whether you qualify for a visa waiver. For general information:

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization): A valid ESTA approval is required for all Visa Waiver Program travel to the United States. ESTA is a free, automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form that Visa Waiver travelers fill out en route to the United States. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, but no later than 72 hours prior to departure. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. If eligible, you should submit your ESTA application as soon as you begin making travel plans:

B-1 or B1/B2 VISA: Many participants in the GSSS enter the U.S. on a B-1 (business) or combination B1/B2 (business/tourist) visa. The B-1 and B1/B2 visas are valid for travel for scientific, educational, professional or business conventions or conferences that have specific dates; the GSSS qualifies under these categories. Check with the U.S. Embassy in your country before applying for this visa to confirm that it will meet your needs, especially if you plan to spend extra time in the U.S. before or after the summer school.

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BUSINESS VISA -– B1, B1/B2, WB OR WB/WT WHEN YOU COME THROUGH CUSTOMS. Be sure to explain to the BCIS official that you are coming to the U.S. for business purposes to attend a training program. WE CANNOT REIMBURSE YOU OR PAY FOR ANY EXPENSES (INCLUDING PROVIDING YOUR HOUSING AND MEALS) IF YOU HAVE TOURIST STATUS. If your visa is marked for tourism only (B2 visa, or a passport marked WT in case of visa waiver), we will not be able to reimburse you or pay for ANY of your expenses.

It is YOUR responsibility to present U.S. consular officials with all application requirements and supporting documents in a manner that can be reviewed quickly and provide substantial evidence for visa approval. It is best to apply for a visa as soon as possible, as the approval process can take two months or more in some cases.

For more information on U.S. Embassy locations and visa procedures in your own country, visit: Please contact SFI’s Visa Assistant, Laura Ware ( if you have questions about visa issues.