Dear Members of the International Qur’an Studies Association,
In advance of the 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston one month from today (November 17, 2017), certain dual US citizens and non-US citizens should note the urgent advice below. If you have not already you need to apply for a visa to enter the United States through the new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) system.
Speakers at the Annual Meeting of SBL, AAR, and IQSA who do not hold a US passport and intend to travel as part of the Visa Waiver Program should note the following:
- According to current US Government advice, dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen are not anymore considered eligible to take part in the Visa Waiver Program even if they hold a first or second passport by a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program.
- Furthermore, and this may be much less well known, anyone who has merely travelled to one of the above-mentioned countries after 1 March 2011 is also considered ineligible to take part in the Visa Waiver Program even if he/she does not hold dual nationality. An ESTA application submitted is likely to be declined.
(On both points, see e.g., https://nl.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-waiver-program/.)
Thus, any speaker to whom (1) or (2) applies will need to submit a full visa application in order to travel to the Annual Meeting. This is a complex, costly, and time-consuming process that ought to be commenced immediately in order to ensure that travel to the US will be possible in November.
Finally, it is advised that those already granted permission before the new ESTA regulations re-apply immediately. We apologize for any inconvenience this will cause you. IQSA is doing everything it can to help its members and ensure a safe and fruitful meeting in Boston. Should you have any further questions please write email@example.com.
Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director, International Qur’anic Studies Association
© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.