MADISON, Wis. — In acknowledgment that heightened Homeland Security regulations have made it more difficult for some foreign nationals to enter the United States, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA) are reducing administration charges for registrants unable to obtain visas to enter the country to attend The 1 Credit Union Conference this July 11-14 in Las Vegas.
"Since the attempted terrorist airline bombing on Christmas Day, it has become much more difficult to enter the U.S.," said Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services. "We recognize that fact and want to make it as painless as possible for potential attendees to obtain visas, as well as reduce administration charges for those who can't."
In many cases, foreign nationals requiring visas to enter the U.S. must provide a proof of purpose in order to obtain entry permission. Registrants for The 1 Credit Union Conference from outside the U.S. will receive a letter of invitation emailed as a PDF upon request from conference registrars once they pay their registration fees in full. The letter serves as proof of their intent and must be presented with their credentials at the U.S. Embassy or consulate in their home countries. WOCCU and CUNA require payment prior to the letter being sent to assure recipients truly intend to attend the conference and not merely enter the U.S. with other purposes in mind, Grace said.
Attendees who register and pay their fees prior to the May 20 early bird deadline, but are unable to get visas will have their full conference registration refunded minus a US$100 processing fee. Attendees who register after May 20, but do not get their visa and cancel by June 11 will have their fees refunded minus a US$200 processing fee. This year the refund deadline was extended to encourage attendees to register and start the visa process early. Adequate processing time is one of the most important factors in successfully obtaining a visa.
"Attendees who require a visa could be facing a lengthy process sometimes taking many months," said Grace. "We strongly suggest that those attendees begin the process as soon as possible."
Attendees from many European countries, as well as those in far east Asia may be eligible for the Visa Waiver program.* Residents of Canada and Bermuda require a passport but not a visa to enter the U.S. Residents of Mexico require a passport and a visa or a border crossing card. For more information and links to individual embassies, go to www.vegas2010.org/vegas_visa_information.
The 1 Credit Union Conference is being jointly produced by WOCCU and CUNA this year only. The conference replaces CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference and WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference, both of which will return as individual events in 2011.
* Countries whose citizens generally do not require visas to enter the U.S. include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries serve 200 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.