What do I need to do to attend the 2019 NAHB International Builders’ Show from a foreign country?
Depending on your citizenship, you may need a visa to travel to the United States to attend the International Builders' Show.
Read the information below to find out more about whether you need a visa and how to obtain one.
Complete visa information can be found via the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Citizens of Countries Participating in the Visa Waiver Program
Visa Waiver Program
The U.S. government's Visa Waiver Program enables eligible citizens of specific countries to enter the United States for tourism or business for a period of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
Learn more about which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
A valid ESTA approval is required for all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participants to travel to the United States. ESTA applications may be completed online at the official DHS website.
The Department of Homeland Security Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the VWP. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form that VWP travelers fill out en route to the United States. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Authorizations are valid for multiple entries into the United States. DHS recommends that travelers submit an ESTA application as soon as they begin making travel plans.
Visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the VWP are now subject to enhanced security requirements and will be required to pay an administrative fee. All eligible travelers who wish to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization and then pay the fee.
VWP travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States.
Learn more about ESTA on the DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, www.cbp.gov.
Citizens of Other Countries: Obtaining a Visa
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a non-immigrant visa for a temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.
If you are not an eligible for the Visa Waiver Program and need a visa to attend the 2019 NAHB International Builders’ Show, you can now complete the visa application form online.
Visitor visas are non-immigrant visas for people who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2). A Business Visitor Visa (B-1) (PDF) should be appropriate for a conference, meeting, trade show or business event attendees, or trade show employees of foreign exhibitors at international fairs (excluding government representatives).*
How to Apply
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply.
Please consult the instructions available on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.
Complete the Online Visa Application
Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- Learn more about completing the DS-160 – You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
Schedule an Interview
While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages outlined below, consular officers have the discretion to require an interview of any applicant, regardless of age.
If you are age:
- 13 and younger, then an interview is generally not required.
- 14-79, then an interview is required (some exceptions for renewals).
- 80 and older, then an interview is generally not required.
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence.
Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.
Letter of Invitation for Visa Application
Letters of Invitation for IBS 2019 will be available for visitors/buyers and exhibitors, in both electronic format (PDF) and paper starting September 4. You MUST be registered first to request a letter.
If you are an attendee:
After you have completed your registration, including payment, you will see instructions on the acknowledgement page and the confirmation email that will take you to the online form where you enter the necessary information, including your registration confirmation ID number. Once you have submitted your information, you will receive a PDF copy of the letter via email. You may choose to also receive a mailed copy.
If you are an exhibitor:
You must first submit a badge request for each person that will need a letter of invitation. To request badges, you must already be an exhibitor and must have the Username and Password required to access the Exhibitor Tools page of this website. If the badges requested are over your allotment, you must submit payment for them before you can request a letter of invitation. Once you have requested the badges, you will see instructions on the “View Completed” tab of the Exhibitor Registration page that will take you to the online form where you enter the necessary information, including each person’s registration confirmation ID number (found to the left of the name). Once you have submitted your information, you will receive a PDF copy of the letter via email. You may choose to also receive a mailed copy.
You MUST be a registered attendee or exhibitor of the 2019 Show, including payment, to request a letter of invitation. If your spouse is traveling with you, he or she must also be registered for the show to request a letter of invitation. Letters of invitation will not be issued for children under the age of 18.
The name on your letter must match the name on your registration EXACTLY. If you plan to include a middle name or middle initial in your visa application and on your letter of invitation, then you must register using the same format and spelling, or your request will not be accepted. The name, company and address on your letter will appear exactly as you have entered it. Please do not use all uppercase letters when filling out your information.
Good: John B. Smith, Company Name, 123 Cherry St.
Bad: JOHN B SMITH, COMPANY NAME, 123 CHERRY ST
*This does not constitute legal advice. NAHB cannot guarantee that an attendee or exhibitor will be granted a visa. For official information, see the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Do You Need a Visa?
Visa Application Tips
- Apply EARLY! New screening processes are in place at all US Embassies that could delay your application processing time. We suggest you begin the visa application process at least 60 days prior to your travel date. To determine typical wait times to secure an interview, please contact the Consular Section of your local Embassy.
- Present proof that you have strong ties to your country of residence. Proof of employment or business ownership are good examples of strong ties.
- If possible, show proof that you have traveled internationally before and have returned within the time restrictions of your visa.
- Present your visa letter of invitation to the Consular Officer during the visa interview. The visa letter of invitation, though not required for the visa application, can assist as a supporting document.
Items to Bring to Your Interview
Make sure you have all the necessary documentation with you at your interview. You will need the following:
- A valid passport
- Appropriate visa application forms
- Visa fee proof of payment
- Documents detailing employment status, reason for travel, and financial status
- Proof of previous visits to the US
- An official letter of invitation from show management and proof of advance registration to attend the show is recommended
- Any additional documents required by your local embassy or consulate