APS News

Visa Issue Impacts 2004 March Meeting

Due to added security concerns, physicists who will be traveling from the US to attend the 2004 March meeting in Montreal, Canada will have to think more carefully about their plans. Foreign students, post- docs and visitors are likely to be the ones most directly affected. But recent information obtained by APS indicates that students and post-docs from all but seven countries should be able to make use of the automatic visa revalidation program for reentry to the US from Canada.

To help everyone who plans to attend the March Meeting, the APS has created a website with information on travel and visas that will be updated as circumstances warrant.

"We are most concerned about holders of F-1 visas," said Irving Lerch, head of the APS Office of International Affairs. These visas are granted to graduate students who until last April had been allowed to travel to Canada for up to 30 days and then reenter the US after their visas had been automatically revalidated at the border or arrival airport. Now for students with some additional documentation, as detailed on the above web site, APS has learned that this automated process is still viable, except for students from Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan. Students from these countries should consult in detail with the office of international students and scholars (ISS) at their host institutions before making plans to travel outside the US.

Because the APS March meeting is so large, planning begins six years ahead of time. "We select the cities for our meetings years in advance," said APS Executive Officer Judy Franz. "Montreal was chosen well before the 9/11 tragedy, when we had no reason to believe it would be a problem. It's now too late to change the location."

In addition to the requirements for re-entry to the US, attention must be paid to the regulations for crossing into Canada from the US. Citizens from certain countries are required to obtain a Canadian visitor's visa. Information on this issue can be found on the APS web site as well.

More information on visa issues can be found on a new Web site launched by the International Visitors Office of the National Academies (www.nationalacademies.org/visas/ ), which is designed to provide assistance to foreign scientists and scholars. The members of the APS International Office can be reached by e-mailing: international@aps.org or calling Irving Lerch, (301) 209-3236; Michele Irwin (301) 209-3237; or Jackie Beamon-Kiene, (301) 209- 3239.

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette