IPWSD 2012: Visa Information



Some nationalities may require a B-1 visa to enter the United States. WE STRONGLY ADVISE YOU TO VERIFY YOUR VISA STATUS WELL IN ADVANCE. Most information on U.S. visas for temporary visitors can be found on the U.S. Department of State website:  http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1304.html.

It is your responsibility to confirm whether you are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or not. If need be we can provide you with a letter to assist with the issuance of a visa. Please contact us immediately at[email protected] should such a letter be required.

1.         Visitors under the Visa Waiver Program

Citizens of a limited number of countries are permitted to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa in their passports (for the list of countries, see here). You need, however, a pre-clearance authorization called ESTA. You must present evidence of the ESTA approval at the port of departure and at the port of entry to the United States. Be sure to pay the $14.00 ESTA fee and to print out the approval before travelling. Your passport must meet the digital photograph and e-passport requirements.

2.         Visitors on a B-1 Nonimmigrant Temporary Visa

Other foreign citizens will need to apply for a B-1 non-immigrant visa prior to entering the United States. Applications are usually submitted at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country of permanent residence. The visa application process requires some time, so we urge you to start the process as soon as possible. With a few exceptions, you will have to:

  • Submit a digital and printed photo that meets visa image requirements;
  • Complete the online nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160;
  • Print and keep the DS-160 barcode page;
  • Fill out the online visa application form DS-156 (if applicable);
  • Schedule an interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate;
  • Pay the visa application processing fee and print evidence of payment;
  • Submit any supporting documentation as required by the specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence (this may include a letter of invitation, a current CV, or list of publications).

3.         Additional information

Please note that the denial of a recent U.S. entry visa application can result in failure to meet the prescreening requirements, additional questioning at the U.S. port of entry, or denial of admission to the U.S.

Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact us by email at [email protected].

The Sustainable Development Doctoral Society is the official organization of the students in the Ph.D. Program in Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

We would like to sincerely thank our sponsors for this event: the Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) at Columbia University.

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