E.g., 06/02/2020
E.g., 06/02/2020

Visa Information

Citizens of foreign countries seeking to enter the United States need to have a valid US visa in their passport. Alternatively, certain international travelers are eligible to enter the United States without a visa using the Visa Waiver Prgram (VWP). Please see the section below to learn more about the VWP and the accompanying ESTA application. 

Obtaining a US Visa

US visa application steps vary depending on the country-of-residence. Please consult the US Embassy or Consulate nearest you in order to determine the appropriate steps to receive your visa. The visa application process can be lengthy so we encourage you to start as early as feasible. To learn more about the visa application process, please visit the US Department of State's visa website.

Require an Invitation Letter? 

GALA is happy to issue you an invitation letter to attend the conference, if required. Please fill out this form and we will respond with your letter. Each individual person attending the conference must submit his/her information separately.

Using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables elgibile citizens or nationals of designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a US visa. Travelers using the VWP must have a valid ESTA (see below) before boarding a United States-bound air or sea carrier. Citizens of the following countries are currently eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP:

Andorra Hungary Norway
Australia Iceland Portugal
Austria Ireland San Marino
Belgium Italy Singapore
Brunei Japan Slovakia
Chile Latvia Slovenia
Czech Republic Liechtenstein South Korea
Denmark Lithuania Spain
Estonia Luxembourg Sweden
Finland Malta Switzerland
France Monaco Taiwan
Germany Netherlands United Kingdom
Greece New Zealand  


Travelers who have entered Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after 01 March 2011 are not eligible to use the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and must obtain a US visa before entering the country, even if they are a citizen of a VWP country.

For more details on visa waivers, please visit the FAQ page for the VWP.

Processing an ESTA Application

All travelers seeking to enter the United States via the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must also apply for travel authorization by submitting an ESTA application online. Successful ESTA application qualifies travelers to enter the United States for both business and leisure for less than 90 days. If you already have a US Visa, you do not need an ESTA. 

What do I need to process the ESTA?

  • Valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program country.
  • Valid credit card (MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club)) to pay US $14 per application.
  • Your contact information.
  • Your most recent employment information, if applicable.

How far in advance is it necessary to apply for travel authorization through ESTA?

ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to traveling to the United States under the VWP. In most cases, ESTA provides an almost immediate determination of eligibility for travel. However, travelers are encouraged to submit ESTA applications through the ESTA website as soon as the traveler begins to plan a visit to the United States. VWP travelers are not required to have specific plans to travel to the United States before they apply for an ESTA, but if the information is available applicants are encouraged to provide their destination addresses and itineraries. Each approved ESTA application generally is valid for two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. A new travel authorization is required for any of the following. If you:

  1. Recieve a new passport, including an emergency or temporary passport;
  2. Change your name;
  3. Change your gender;
  4. Change your country of;
  5.  Need to change your responses to any of the “yes” or “no” questions on the ESTA application.

The associated fee will be charged for each new application submitted.

For more details about ESTA, or to apply, please visit the travel authorization website.

Content cited from the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State. 

Last Updated 24 July 2019