Visa Delays

visa with stamps from Great Britain and USA

Resources & Help

Request Letters of Invitation
March, April, and Unit meetings.

Entering the United States
Information on customs and OBIM.

Visa Waiver Program
Full explanations and requirements.

Visa Wait Times
Posted by US Department of State.

APS encourages international attendance at March and April Meetings as well as Unit Meetings, as physics is a global enterprise that benefits from the collaboration of scientists worldwide. Through its visa resources, APS hopes that international attendees can easily prepare for their visit to the United States. Please review the information provided to avoid visa delays and find resources if your visa has been delayed.

The information on this page is given in good faith, but regulations may change. The only authoritative sources of information are US government websites.

APS cannot intervene with US Embassies or consulates abroad or with the US State Department on behalf of any member or APS meeting attendee.

Avoid Visa Problems

Steps to avoid issues and delays:

  • Plan ahead
  • Apply early
  • Bring a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV) to the visa interview

Estimate How Long the Application Process Will Take
The Bureau of Consular Affairs provides estimated Visa Wait Times for interviews and non-immigrant visa processing at every US Consular office worldwide.
Gray arrow Visa Wait Times

Applying in a "Third Country"
If you apply for a visa in a country other than your home country, you are considered a "Third Country National" (TCN). TCN applications require additional resources and time to process; sometimes consular officers are unable to properly adjudicate the application. As a result, TCNs have a higher rate of visa denial. Thus, it is recommended that you apply in your home country. If this is not possible, be extra diligent about providing evidence of your ties to your home country. Assume that your application will take longer to process and plan accordingly.

Visas Mantis

Some applicants experience delays beyond the estimates posted on the Visa Wait Times website due to a security review process known as Visas Mantis. This is an additional processing step for applicants with a background in one of the technologies on the Technology Alert List (TAL).  

A Visa Mantis review will delay the processing of your application. To facilitate this review, bring a copy of your CV to the visa interview and apply early to avoid a delay in your travel to the United States. Many visa applicants who have previously been approved under the Visa Mantis process may not need to undergo another review when they reapply for a visa if they are returning to the same program and position.

The TAL is used by Consular Officials to determine the "ineligibility [of] aliens who are coming to engage in an activity involving one of the scientific or technical fields on the TAL. Such activity includes graduate-level studies, teaching, conducting research, participating in exchange programs, receiving training or employment, or engaging in commercial transactions."

If You Have Visa Problems

The National Academies’ International Visitors Office (IVO) is a valuable resource on visa-related issues for scientists. IVO can inquire at the US Department of State about the status of certain US visa applications that are delayed.
Gray Arrow International Visitors Office

You can report to IVO excessive delays encountered in the visa application process if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a student, scholar, or professional in the sciences;

  • AND You applied for a non-B1 visa to come to the US for a science-related activity and your application has been undergoing administrative processing for sixty days since your visa interview;

  • OR, You applied for a B-1 visa to come to the US for a science-related activity and your application has been undergoing administrative processing for at least thirty days.

Gray Arrow IVO Visa Questionnaire