Prepare for Your Journey to St. Louis
Get ready ahead of time to ensure a smooth arrival in the United States
Travel.state.gov, an official U.S. Government site, is the most authoritative and up-to-date information source for U.S. Visas.
- Check to see if your country participates in the Visa Waiver Program. If you are a citizen or national of a participating country and meet all the requirements listed in the link above, you will not require a visa to travel to the NAFSA 2020 Conference & Expo.
- Visa Waiver Program-eligible travelers still need authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA*) prior to check-in on U.S.-bound flights. (If you will be applying for a visa, you do not need to obtain an ESTA authorization in addition to the visa.)
- The Visa Wizard tool can also help you determine whether you will require a visa to travel to the United States.
- Check the estimated Visa appointment wait times for the U.S. Embassy or consulate closest to you.
*Beware of fraudulent ESTA sites! https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ is the ONLY website you should access to apply and pay for an ESTA authorization online.
Letter of Invitation
If you require a letter of invitation to receive a visa to travel to the United States, request your letter by May 1, 2020. A letter of invitation does not guarantee that you will receive a visa.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport is located approximately 14 miles (23 km) northwest of downtown St. Louis. Ground transportation options from the airport include taxi, rideshare (Uber and Lyft) and light rail service (Metrolink).
All of the major U.S. airlines fly into St. Louis, but there are no options for direct service from outside North America. Expect another U.S. city to be your port of entry into the country. When booking your flights, allow enough time to pass through passport controls and customs checkpoints before you transfer to the next flight in your itinerary. A minimum connection time of two hours is strongly recommended.
Optional offer: Travel Partners, LLC, NAFSA’s travel coordinator, will research airfares on all airlines to ensure that the lowest available fare is offered for your travel to St. Louis. To take advantage of this great offer, call or email Travel Partners today. Service fees, restrictions and cancellation penalties apply.
- +1.800.884.0070 (United States and Canada)
- +1.301.869.0003 (Outside of the United States and Canada) Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (EDT)
- Email: [email protected]
Looking for more conference preparation tips? You may find our page for annual conference first-timers helpful.
The NAFSA 2020 official housing website is now open! Please support NAFSA and the St. Louis economy by booking a hotel in NAFSA's official housing block.
The NAFSA 2020 Housing and Travel page has more information regarding transportation and accommodation options, including a complete list of NAFSA 2020 official hotels.
Plan Your Conference Schedule
Sessions, workshops, and poster descriptions are available in the online planner prior to the conference. The online planner allows you to preview the complete NAFSA 2020 schedule before registering. You can search for conference sessions by day, knowledge community, presenter, focus area, or themed track. Once you have registered for NAFSA 2020, you will be able to access the networking and personal schedule functions.
Log into the online planner (using your NAFSA-associated email address and conference badge number) after you have registered to create your personal schedule. It is recommended that you create your personal schedule before you arrive in St. Louis. The NAFSA 2020 app (available in May) will allow you to easily access the online planner and the personal schedule you have created.
Additional points to keep in mind:
- Preconference workshops provide you with opportunities to maximize your professional skill set. These require an additional fee. Seats are limited and fill quickly, so register early!
- Poster fairs are presented Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- If you would like to visit St. Louis attractions in your free time during the conference, don’t forget to include this in your schedule!
What to Pack
- Business cards
- Money: (If you are a Non-U.S. based attendee be sure your credit card works in the United States!)
- Comfortable shoes: You'll be walking a lot and may be on your feet for hours at a time.
- Appropriate clothing: Some attendees dress casually in jeans, others are in suits. The best recommendation is to dress according to your conference goals. If you plan business meetings, you will need business attire.
- The rooms in the convention center will be air conditioned. It is a good idea to bring a sweater or something similar if you get cold.
- Check the weather forecast in St. Louis to help you decide what to pack. Be prepared for rain just in case.
- Mobile Phone
- Check with your mobile service provider to ensure you will have coverage in St. Louis.
- To use the NAFSA 2020 app, you will need a smartphone or tablet with internet access that runs a modern version of the Android or iOS operating system.
- Travel Plug Adapter: (if you will be bringing personal electronics that do not have a U.S.- style plug.)