As outlined below, Fermilab has strict policies affecting travel outside the U.S. by visa holders. All visa holders seeking to travel on Fermilab business outside the U.S. and planning to apply for a new visa stamp while abroad must fill out the Visa Application During Travel Form and follow the below instructions for its submission.
Unanticipated delays in returning to the Lab following a visa application outside the U.S. can result in significant increase in the cost of travel and dislocation in work responsibilities. It is critical to ensure that your travel plans are realistic prior to scheduling your travel. See Fermilab policy on “Visa Applications During Travel”.
The most common travel problem for visa holders arises from the U.S. visa application process. Visa processing by U.S. Consulates is unpredictable and your past experiences are NOT indicative of how future visa applications might proceed. Each Consulate has its own procedures for visa applications. It is your responsibility to understand the procedures and timelines for visa processing for the Consulate you will visit. All U.S. Embassies and consulates are listed at http://www.usembassy.gov/. The Department of State (DOS) provides estimates of wait times for visa interviews issuance. Visa Office has helpful instructions on the complete visa application process.
Many of visa applicants undergo security clearances (“administrative processing”) before being issued their visa stamps and, again, your past experiences are NOT indicative of whether you will be subjected to administrative processing in future. There is ALWAYS a risk that a visa application can be subjected to administrative processing. Administrative processing averages between 3 – 6 weeks, but may take longer. No person, organization, or agency can speed up administrative processing. Once a person applies for a new visa stamp, that person is prohibited by law from entering the U.S. while the application is pending.
The unpredictability of the U.S. visa application process can significantly affect both the nature of the travel arrangements made for you and the cost of the travel. It is your responsibility to comply with Travel Office procedures relating to foreign travel and visa applications. To ensure that travel and costs are properly managed, the Travel Office and Visa Office must know and approve your travel and visa application plans. You must:
- Complete this Form and submit is to the Visa Office 100 days prior to proposed travel (for conference attendees) or 45 days prior to proposed travel (all other situations).
- Complete your Travel Authorization in accordance with Travel Office timelines and policies. Include this form in your travel packet.
- Email your host and the Visa Office (at email@example.com) with your proposed dates of departure and return, as well as the purpose of the trip, as required by DOE rules.
- Provide copies of all visa-related paperwork, such as but not limited to, copies of new visa stamps, new admission stamps in your passport, and print-outs of your electronic I-94 record, to the Visa Office by uploading these to your online profile at ww2.welcomeclient.com .
- Plan your travel with your manager, so that contingency plans can be made for you, your work, and your department, should your return be delayed.