The annual International Symposium on Human Identification is regarded as the most focused and valuable meeting to attend by those people who are involved in DNA typing. The conference will feature talks by thought leaders in the forensic community, a variety of practical workshops, and more than 100 scientific posters. We greatly value our international attendees, and would be happy to assist with obtaining a Nonimmigrant Visa, in the event that one is needed.

Planning your travel and Visa needs in advance is very important as Visa applications may be subject to greater scrutiny than in previous years. Citizens of countries who participate in the Visa Waiver Program generally do not need a letter of invitation, however, we will gladly provide a letter should you desire one. For more information regarding the Visa Waiver Program, please click here.

The Visa application process may be lengthy, so if you determine that you need to apply for a Nonimmigrant VISA, we recommend requesting a letter of invitation as soon as you’ve decided to attend. To receive your letter of invitation, please email Tara Luther with the following information in your request:

First/Given Name:
Last/Family Name:
Salutation (examples – Mr., Ms., Dr.):
Passport # (if known):
Date of Birth (please spell out month):
Country of Nationality:
Physical Address where you receive mail:

Please see the links below for additional resources about the Visa application process:



Travel Planning:

The 28th International Symposium on Human Identification kicks off with the Welcome Reception on Monday evening, October 2, 2017 and the General Sessions talks will conclude mid-day on Thursday, October 5, 2017. Optional workshops will be held Sunday, October 1, 2017, Monday, October 2, 2017, and Thursday afternoon, October 5, 2017. You may want to consider extending your stay to enjoy some of the area attractions.


Currency Conversion:

Be sure that you are aware of the current currency conversion rate. Click here for a currency converter calculator. The Sea-Tac International Airport offers currency exchange services in the Main Terminal Ticketing Level (south end), in Baggage Claim, and on Concourse A in the South Satellite. For detailed locations and hours, please visit the Sea-Tac website.


Mobile Phones and Internet Access:

Did you know that you could use your mobile phone abroad without the roaming charges? If you’d like to save some charges on your phone bill, consider purchasing a local pre-paid SIM card or a pre-paid Global SIM card. Global SIM cards allow you to travel to multiple countries, on different networks, on a single SIM card. To see which type of SIM card you’ll need, visit this website. To purchase a SIM card, we recommend these websites:

One more important note – check whether or not your mobile phone is locked to a particular network before leaving your home country. If so, you’ll need to make arrangements with your network to be able to activate and use an international pre-paid SIM card upon arrival.


There will be Wi-Fi available at the Convention Center. To avoid all international charges, there are a couple of apps that we recommend to use to keep in touch with family or colleagues back home.

  • Skype – Use this app to make calls and receive messages. Additional minutes can be purchased to use when making calls.
  • Whatsapp – This app will allow you to send and receive text, picture, and video messages on your mobile device for free.


Travel Tips:

If you are travelling internationally (including Canada and Mexico), you will be required to present a valid machine-readable passport at the U.S. port of entry to enter the U.S. Be sure to check your passport expiration date well in advance of your travel to ensure you have ample time to get the documents you’ll need. Please note – your passport must be valid for 6 months from your day of arrival. Click here for more details on travel into the United States. Additional information on travelling to the United States (including some items you may not have considered) can be found on the sites below:

Washington charges a 6.5% sales tax on purchases. There is a lodging tax in addition to the sales tax, so expect to pay a 12% hotel tax (including sales tax).

There are tipping customs in the U.S. that you may not be familiar with. The chart below shows standards for tipping in America for a variety of common services.



Image source: Fodors.com