International Travelers


Please contact
Meegan Smith at msmith@sfa.org
or (703) 836-4500 ext. 210
with any questions
or for any assistance.

VISA Information

Important Information on Traveling to the U.S.

The U.S. government requires residents of many countries to obtain a temporary visa before entering the United States. Recent changes to the visa application process may have increased the length of time required to receive your visa, so it is very important to apply for your visa at least 90 days prior to your departure. The information below provides important links and details to help make the process easier for you.

Helpful Hints & Applying for Your Visa

  • Visit the U.S. Department of State Website for information or changes to the visa process.

  • Register on-line and then request your Letter of Invitation from SNAXPO.

  • Apply for your visa as early as possible and at least 90 days prior to your departure date.

  • Check your passport expiration date to make sure it will be valid for at least six more months.

  • If you already have a visa, check the expiration date to make sure it will not expire before your trip is completed.

Please Note:

  • Complete one request for each person requiring a Letter of Invitation.

  • Only requests submitted after registration has been submitted will be processed.

  • Obtaining a Letter of Invitation will not guarantee that you will be approved for a visa. The letter is merely supplementary information that explains a visa applicant's intended purpose to travel. U.S. Embassy officers look at the totality of an applicant's personal situation in determining visa eligibility.

Scheduling Visa Interview Appointments

Specific wait times vary for visa interview appointments for each U.S. Embassy/Consulate. Wait times depend on location and time of year, but you can find out specific procedures and estimated wait times by checking your U.S. Embassy/Consulate's Website. Many visa interviews last only 3-5 minutes. It is very important that you have all the necessary documentation with you to ensure a successful interview.

Tips to Make Your Visa Interview Successful

Provide a summary of employment history, experience and expertise associated with the purpose of travel in order to expedite the interview process.
Take a copy of your registration confirmation, hotel reservation and flight itinerary. Make a list of the SNAXPO exhibitors you intend to meet with and/or a list of appointments already scheduled with exhibitors.

Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of 27 countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. VWP travelers must present a machine-readable passport (MRP) at the U.S. post of entry to enter the U.S. without a visa. Otherwise, a U.S. visa is required. Not all countries participate in the VWP. To obtain the complete list of exempt countries and learn more, visit the Visa Waiver Program Website.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States, and VWP travelers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States. Click here for more information about the ESTA.

Visa Information for International Media

International members of the media should have a nonimmigrant media (I) Visa, since using the visa waiver program to work as a journalist in the U.S. will not guarantee entry. More information about the I-Visa can be found on the U.S. Embassy's Web site for your home country. Visit the U.S. State Department's Website to find the appropriate Embassy's Web site.