Chimpanzees in Context


The USA requires citizens of many countries to obtain a visa to enter the US. To attend IPS in Chicago, you may need to acquire a business visa (though depending on your home country, a tourist visa may be acceptable).

The Fisher Center at the Lincoln Park Zoo will provide letters of support for visa applications for the dates of the conference. Please email to request more information

To enter the US, your passport must be valid for more than six months after your travel dates.


If you are from a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you may not need a visa to enter the US and stay for up to 90 days for business or tourism.

The following countries are currently (as of March 2014) a part of the VWP:

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

If your country participates, you must go to this website and complete the application (and pay the fee):

There are a few rules to keep in mind if you are going to participate in the VWP:

Each traveler must have authorization under ESTA

In order to travel without a visa on the VWP, you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier. ESTA is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) automated web-based system to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business. Visit the ESTA webpage on the CBP website for more detailed information, to apply for ESTA, and pay the fee.

Travel Must be on an Approved Carrier

If arriving by air or sea, you must be arriving on an approved air or sea carrier. You must also have a round trip ticket indicating return passage to a country outside the United States.

Previous Compliance and No Prior Visa Ineligibilities

If you have had a U.S. visa before or previously traveled to the United States under the VWP or another status, you must have complied with the conditions of previous admissions to the United States, and you must not have previously been found ineligible for a U.S. visa.

Travelers should be aware that by requesting admission under the Visa Waiver Program, they are generally waiving their right to review or appeal a CBP officer’s decision as to their application for admission at the port of entry. See the CBP website for additional details.

Have the Correct Type of Passport

You must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from the United States (unless exempted by country-specific agreements). For families, each member of your family, including infants and children, must have his/her own passport. 

If you are from one of these countries, we do recommend double-checking that you not need a visa, as rules can change without notice.


General information about obtaining visas:

To find your nearest US Embassy or Consulate:

Online form to request a visa (you can upload a photo here too):

Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes
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