Annual Conference FAQs

Annual Conference & ExpoNAFSA 2019 Proposals

The NAFSA annual conference brings together more than 9,000 professionals in the field of international education for five packed days of training workshops, educational sessions, networking opportunities, and special events.

Have questions about NAFSA's 2018 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania? Check back regularly, as this page will continue to be updated.

When & Where

What are the official dates of the Annual Conference?
The conference begins Sunday, May 27 and ends Friday, June 1, 2018.
What is the address, telephone number, and web address of the Pennsylvania Convention Center?
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
When does conference registration begin on site?
Registration opens on Saturday, May 26. Registration times are as follows:
Date Times
Saturday, May 26 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 27 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday, May 28 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 29 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 30 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 31 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday, June 1 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Which hotel is the conference headquarters hotel?
Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
1201 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107


When does registration open?
Registration and housing will open on March 1st, 2018. Further information on registration will be available late 2017.
When do I get my registration materials?
Registration materials will be distributed on site upon checking in at the registration counters. Please bring your registration confirmation to receive your registration materials. Both print and electronic confirmations will be accepted on site, you can also enter your name into the terminal to pull up your registration. Registration counters will be located in the Lobby of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Please note, registration materials will not be mailed to attendees in advance.
How do I get a receipt for my registration?
Once you are registered for the annual conference you will be able to view and print your confirmation, as well as log in to your registration portal at any time to make changes, print receipts and/or confirmations and create your itinerary. You will no longer receive a receipt on-site. You may not cancel your registration online – see the cancellation policies on the NAFSA website.
What if I need to pay by check?
Mail registration form (available March 1, 2018 ) to:
Attn: NAFSA 2018
C/O Experient
5202 Presidents Court, Suite G100
Frederick, MD 21703
How can I access the online planner?
After you have registered for the conference, simply log in to the My Schedule portion of this site using your email address and registration confirmation ID to create and access your personal agenda for the conference.

The personal agenda that you build in the online program and planner will export to your mobile app account automatically each time you log in to the app.
How can I access the mobile app?
The NAFSA 2018 App, which includes the participant list and a communication tool for app users, will be available to registered attendees in the Apple Store and Google Play in early May
What is the NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference Cancellation & Refund Policy?
Cancellation requests must be made in writing and received no later than Friday, May 25, 2018. No refunds or credit will be provided for cancellations made after Friday, May 25, 2018. A $100 (USD) cancellation fee will be deducted from conference registration refunds and a $100 (USD) cancellation fee will be deducted from workshop and signature program/special event registration refunds up to a $200 (USD) maximum deduction for multiple cancellations. Changes to a preconference workshop registration will result in a $25 change fee per workshop. If NAFSA cancels a workshop, you will receive notification of the cancellation and a full refund.

Registration payments made via credit card will be refunded to the original credit card and will be processed four to six weeks after the conference. Otherwise, a refund check will be issued.

Send request by email to, fax +1.301.694.5124, or mail to
Attn: NAFSA 2017
C/O Experient
5202 Presidents Court, Suite G100
Frederick, MD 21703

Sessions & Workshops

Where are the conference sessions and workshops being held?
Conference sessions and workshops are held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from Sunday, May 27 through Friday, June 1, 2018.
Can I still register for a preconference workshop on site?
Many preconference workshops will be filled. Please check with the registration desk on the ground level of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
What time does a particular session or workshop start?
Check the conference website in coming months for actual beginning and ending times of sessions and workshops.
Where will a particular session take place?
Check the conference website in coming months and review the conference program on site for actual meeting room numbers and locations.
What types of sessions or workshops are being offered?
Review the conference schedule for information regarding sessions and workshop details. More information will be available in February 2018.

Transportation & Visas

How do I obtain a visa letter of invitation?
To obtain a letter of invitation, you will need to fill out an electronic form to request visa support. Requests for visa support cannot be accommodated after April 30, 2018. Please check with your local U.S. Consulate to allow sufficient time for visa processing. Your request for a letter of invitation to attend the NAFSA Annual Conference does not guarantee you will obtain a visa.

Networking & Socializing

How can I find out about visiting attractions in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and what restaurants are open and within walking distance?
You can visit the Conference Information Center located in on the ground level of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Private Events

How can I book a private event during annual conference?
For those individuals or groups interested in planning a private event or meeting during the NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo, please visit, for venue and vendor assistance.


What are the benefits to being a volunteer?
Based on documented hours worked, volunteers may be reimbursed 50%-100% of the general conference registration fee paid.
40 or more 100% reimbursment
30-39 75% reimbursment
20-29 50% reimbursment
1-19 No reimbursment
How do I become a volunteer?
A link to Shiftboard, NAFSA's online scheduling tool for volunteers, will be available in late March. For more information, please visit our Volunteering page.
What are the requirements to be a volunteer?
You must be a conference attendee in order to serve as a conference volunteer.
What jobs will I perform as a volunteer?
Examples of shifts are as follows:
  • Working at NAFSA Commons in expo hall to answer questions and assist attendees in discovering information on NAFSA’s products and services
  • Taking tickets and directing traffic at plenaries and special events
  • Assisting with exhibitor check-in at registration
  • Working registration area to hand out materials and totebags
  • Providing local information and conference directions at Conference Information and Hospitality Center
  • Working as monitor for sessions, handing out and collecting session evaluations.
How long are the shifts?
Shifts range from 2 hours to 6+ hours, so plan your schedule accordingly and be sure you are able to commit to shifts you take.
Can I choose my shifts?
Yes. All available shifts will be in the calendar section of the Shiftboard webpage. Volunteers will be able to add shifts to their calendar based on their own availability and interest. Check back for further instructions once volunteer enrollment opens.
Will additional shifts be added?
Additional shifts will be added throughout March and April as the conference schedule and needs develop.
What will I be required to wear?
When you check in at the LAT office at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for your first volunteer shift, you will be given an identifier to wear when on duty, to show that you are a volunteer. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as most shifts require you to be on your feet for long periods of time.

Support Services

What kind of accessibility arrangements are available?
NAFSA will provide support services upon request. Please request accessibility services or accommodations for people who experience disabilities at the time of registration and/or four weeks in advance to maximize our efforts. For questions, or to request accommodations, please visit, contact an accessibility coordinator at or call 202-737-3699, Ext. 2596. 
What are the best methods to navigate the convention center?
What kind of child care services are available?
Please inquire about child care services with the concierge at your selected hotel. Be certain to make arrangements prior to your arrival in Philadelphia.
Will there be areas for privacy at the convention center? (e.g. lactation, prayer, quiet, etc.)
  • The Pennsylvania Convention Center offers two (2) Mamava lactation pods for nursing mothers located in the Broad Street Atrium on the 100 Level, and in the Hall A Concourse on the 200 Level.
  • A First Aid office is located on the 200 Level near the Hall D entrance. The First Aid office is identified with a red cross.
  • NAFSA will offer a prayer room (Room 305) at the Pennsylvania Convention Center beginning on Saturday, May 26 through Friday, June 1.
  • The Pennsylvania Convention Center has informal seating areas throughout the 100 Level and 200 Level.
Will there be wheel chairs or scooters available to rent? 
  • The Pennsylvania Convention Center offers scooter and wheelchair rentals to attendees through Scootaround. Daily rental fees are as follows:
    • $65.00 for Scooters
    • $25.00 for Wheelchairs
  • Advanced Rentals:
  • To reserve a scooter or wheelchair call 1-888-441-7575 and enter ext. 6101 as soon as you hear a voice on the line. It is recommended to reserve at least 72 hours in advance to guarantee your rental will be available when you arrive.

  • Walk-Up Rentals:
  • The Fed Ex Office at the Pennsylvania Convention Center has a small inventory of (6) scooters and (4) wheelchairs on-site. Because this inventory is for on-site, walk-up rentals only, please note scooters and wheelchairs are available on first come, first serve basis. Fleet Wheelchair and Scooter

What kind of seating will be available at events for those with mobility needs, or who are unable to stand for long periods of time?
There will be seating marked Reserved for Accessible Seating at all plenaries. All events and receptions will have seating available for those who are unable to stand for long periods of time.
What accessibility services will be available during the plenaries?
All plenary events will have interpreting services, and will have front row seating reserved for those with mobility, visual, or interpreting needs.
What shuttle services and transportation is available?
NAFSA Conference ShuttleA complimentary shuttle service will be offered between designated conference hotels and the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC).

Wheelchair accessible transportation is available during the hours of operation. Please call 1.800.523.4046 to schedule pickup from your hotel or Pennsylvania Convention Center (allow 30 minutes).

Read more about transportation information, shuttle route information, and times of operation.


What meals are included with conference registration?
There are no actual meals included with conference registration, but the networking, opening, and closing receptions are complimentary with conference registration.
Where are the restrooms and telephones located in the Pennsylvania Convention Center?
Restrooms and telephones are located on all levels of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Where can I find out about general conference and program information?
Check with volunteers at the Conference Information and Hospitality Center located on the ground level of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Where is the location of the Lost and Found?
Check with volunteers at the Conference Information and Hospitality Center located on the ground level of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
When is the 2019 Annual Conference & Expo?
The NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference & Expo will take place May 26-May 31, 2019 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. 
Is NAFSA using beacons to capture attendee activity data?
Yes, NAFSA will again use eventBit® technology at the NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo. Learn more about how the data will be used and your options for participating.

Can't find an answer? Contact NAFSA at +1.202.737.3699, e-mail