“AI-Mailout_Foreign_Non_Visa_Waiver_Template.doc” has been archived.
There is no “generic” invitation letter for foreign reviewers. If a letter is desired, it should be tailored for the review, the reviewer, and the reviewer’s country of origin. An invitation letter addressed to the reviewer can be developed using the information below. Do not use official NIH letterhead.
The letter should provide:
- information about the review (panel name, date, place)
- information about the reviewer (institution, address, expertise), and
- appropriate references to reviewer-specific information elsewhere in the package (e.g. the Cover Letter) that provides travel and payment instructions.
The following section explains the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and provides instructions for reviewers from countries that do not participate in the VWP. It can be sent to the reviewer in an e-mail and/or incorporated into the cover letter.
(Check current data at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html)
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR FOREIGN REVIEWERS: Reviewers from countries outside the US must present a US Visa to enter the United States unless they belong to one of 35 countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) (see list of countries below). However, reviewers from countries participating in the VWP must have a machine-readable passport (MRP) (containing biometric information, i.e., digital finger-scans and photographs) valid for 6 months beyond the date of their visit. If you do not have a MRP and you are from a VWP country, you will have to present a valid US Visa. In other words, if the passport you hold is not machine-readable, you cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program, and a visa will be required to travel to the United States. You must contact the passport issuing agency or authority in your country of citizenship if you have questions about whether your passport is machine readable. Please look at the Department of State web site for more information.
All VWP travelers, regardless of age or type of passport used, must present a machine-readable passport. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers’ passports were issued, other passport requirements apply:
- Nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Republic of Korea, and the Slovak Republic require passports with an integrated chip containing the information from the data page (e-Passport).
- Nationals of other VWP countries:
- Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended on or after 10/26/06: passports must have integrated chips with information from the data page (http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/business_pleasure/vwp/.
- Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended between 10/26/05 and 10/25/06: passports must have digital photographs printed on the data page or integrated chips with information from the data page.
- Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended before 10/26/05: no further requirements.
Reviewers from countries outside the US that do not participate in the VWP must present a valid visa when entering the United States. In addition to presenting a US visa, visitors will have their two index fingers scanned and a digital photograph taken at the port of entry to verify their identity. This process is part of the US-VISIT (US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) program established by the US Department of Homeland Security. US VISIT procedures now have been expanded to include visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program. For more information regarding the US VISIT program, please visit the US Department of Homeland Security web site (http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/content_multi_image/content_multi_image_0006.xml).
Visa Waiver Program - Participating Countries.
Andorra Iceland Norway
Australia Ireland Portugal
Austria Italy the Republic of Korea
Belgium Japan San Marino
Czech Republic Liechtenstein Slovenia
Estonia Luxembourg Spain
Finland Monaco Sweden
France the Netherlands Switzerland
Germany New Zealand United Kingdom