Applying for US VISA for the IAU XXIX General Assembly

Apply for a United States Visa

To receive an Invitation Letter for your visa application, meeting Registration must be complete.

What is a U.S. Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

How Can I Use a Visa to Enter the United States?
Having a U.S. visa allows you to travel to a port of entry, airport or land border crossing, and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector to enter the United States. While having a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States, it does indicate a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad has determined you are eligible to seek entry for that specific purpose. DHS/CBP inspectors, guardians of the nation’s borders, are responsible for admission of travelers to the United States, for a specified status and period of time. DHS also has responsibility for immigration matters while you are present in the United States.

What Kind of Visa Do I Need to Attend the IAU General Assembly?
Visitor visas (category B) are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

It is VERY important that registrants needing visas apply early enough to complete the visa application process.  We recommend that travelers apply as soon as they possibly can after affirming their ability to attend the conference.
How to Apply
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Please consult the instructions available on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.
  1. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160.  You must:
    • Complete the online visa application and
    • Print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
    • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements
  2. Schedule an Interview
    While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages outlined below, consular officers have the discretion to require an interview of any applicant, regardless of age.
    If you are age:  Then an interview is:
    13 and younger Generally not required
    14-79 Required (some exceptions for renewals)
    80 and older  Generally not required

    You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.

  3. Prepare for Your Interview
    • Fees
      • Pay the non-refundable $160 US visa application fee, if you are required to pay it before your interview.
      • When your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable to your nationality.
    • Gather Required Documentation
      • Passport valid for travel to the United States
      • Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States, unless exempt by country-specific agreements.
      • If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
      • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
      • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
      • Photo: You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
    • Additional Documentation May Be Required
      • Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified.
      • For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
        • The purpose of your trip
        • Your intent to depart the United States after your trip
        • Your ability to pay all costs of the trip
        • Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country.
        • If you cannot cover all the costs for your trip, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your trip.​
  4. Attend Your Visa Interview
    • During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel.
    • You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. 
    • Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
    • After your visa interview, your application may require further administrative processing.
    • You will be informed by the consular officer if further processing is necessary for your application.
    • If the visa request is approved, you may pay a visa issuance fee if applicable to your nationality, and will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you.
    • Review the visa processing time, to learn how soon your passport with visa will generally be ready for pick-up or delivery by the courier.

Understanding Your Visa

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa. For a list of participating countries and eligibility requirements, visit the Visa Waiver Program.  If you are eligible to travel on the VWP, but prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa.

Additional Information

  • To receive an Invitation Letter for Visa applications or other purposes, meeting registration must be complete.
  • If US Visa is denied, a full refund of the meeting registration fee will be processed minus a $100 Cancellation Fee until July 1, 2015. To request a refund due to Visa denial, please contact registration@astronomy2015.orgIt is VERY important that registrants needing visas apply early enough to complete the visa application process.  We recommend that travelers apply as soon as they possibly can after affirming their ability to attend the conference. Please be prepared to show evidence of Visa application prior to June 15, 2015 and evidence of Visa denial.
  • The American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union cannot guarantee that you will be issued a US visa.

Apply for a United States Visa


For more information, contact Lynn Ervin, Meetings Service Specialist at or +1-202-328-2010 x104