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Report on Conference Visa Problems Barbara Boucher Owens, SGB-EC Conference Advisor 3/7/2011 ACM SGB.

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Presentation on theme: "Report on Conference Visa Problems Barbara Boucher Owens, SGB-EC Conference Advisor 3/7/2011 ACM SGB."— Presentation transcript:

1 Report on Conference Visa Problems Barbara Boucher Owens, SGB-EC Conference Advisor 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

2 Survey Monkey Survey sent out in December and re-sent in January to 60 conference leaders 45 responses – 13 conferences reported problems – 3 were unsure One conference had two separate responses. That one actually had visa problems but they weren’t reported. 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

3 17 presenters were denied visas 7 for conferences in UK 5 in USA 3 in Italy 1 each in Spain and France – 9 of the presenters denied visas were students, 3 for UK Conference – Note that the UK conference registration was open less than three months before conference 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

4 16 paid attendees (not presenters) were denied visas 11 of these were students 5 students Brazil conference (no notice of ACM letter on website) 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

5 Advice Open registration early – some countries may take up to 6 months to process student visas Stress the importance of the ACM visa letter information being referenced on the conference website and call Expect – More problems occur with student visas than professionals – More problems for attendees only 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

6 Comments ACM should pay expenses with visa for the invited speakers SIGDOC Brazil Surprisingly, most of the people that had troubles to get visas were US residents (Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Turkish,..). It seems that French consulates in US are very tight. ISCA in France Due to the diversity of visas and some nationals had problems. We had a mostly smooth conference otherwise - these were isolated cases. SIGCOMM India We were informed of a few problems of Chinese students. Mainly due to the procedures of Chinese government ACM Multimedia Italy 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

7 More Comments The registration was open 2 months before the conference. The first visa letter was asked then, and the last one was asked 1 month before the conference. As far as I know, all of them got their visa in time (6 persons). As I already mentioned, the one person who had visa problems did not ask for a letter. SCA2010 Computer Animation Spain The support letters for visa applicants were provided by the ACM (through the role address). Nevertheless, we had cases where the UK border officer rejected the application, for example, due to "insufficient funds". This was after the applicant had paid for the conference registration, submitted the support letter, and also included evidence of flight tickets and accommodation. To avoid these kinds of issues for future ACM conferences hosted in the UK, we would like to understand the root causes. One possible explanation is that the support letters provided by the ACM did not highlight the key statements that a UK border officer may look for. In particular, they may have not understood the meaning of having an accepted paper at a conference, which then led to unnecessary visa rejections. DEBS Distributed Event Based Systems UK 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

8 Still more A few months after the conference FBI agents visited me asking me why the person (chinese) who was granted the visa 2 days after the conference ended did not come to the conference. Speechless just about begins to describe my state at that moment. SIGMetrics US In this case it appears the person did not apply in time. 5 th Int’l Conference on Wireless Underwater USA This conference is traditionally majority non-North American so we have heavy international participation. Only problems we experienced were with China. ACM Group 2010 USA 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

9 Last Comments We had two visa or visa-related issues (one person lost his passport, the other was a Pakistani or Iranian resident in the UK). For the second person, the participants submitted all documents but they could not get their US visa in time. I do not think that they missed any support from us or the VisWeek, it was mainly a timing issue. ACM SoftVIS It just seemed that receiving a letter of support from is taking too long. We received a few requests from authors who had contacted the address and had not received any response after a few days. ACM CoNEXT 2010 3/7/2011 ACM SGB

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