Part of what makes the World Hearing Voices Congress special is its international nature, and the opportunity to gather with and learn from people coming from many different places in the world. However, we know the USA isn't necessarily the easiest destination for international travel right now.
In many instances, people have been able to travel into and out of the country without incident, but here are some quick tips to bear in mind overall:
- It's important not to say anything that would give the impression that you plan to work while in the United States. If you're going to be presenting at the Congress, even that can be easily confused with working. So, especially if you're going to be presenting it's best to avoid saying that your destination is a conference of any kind.
- Saying you're visiting for a vacation or for research is your best bet. These are the responses that are least likely to lead to confusion, and they'll also be true for most people (who are also coming here for vacation/sightseeing, and/or will certainly be researching new approaches and ideas as a part of their visit). If you say research, be prepared to say what kind of research. (For example, "There are some very innovative approaches on recovery that I will be learning about.")
- Be sure your passport is not expired! The US has a general expectation that passports not only be valid, but that they remain valid for six months beyond the anticipated travel dates. However, many countries are exempted from those rule, and need only have passports valid for the dates of the traveler's actual visit. If your passport is expiring soon, be sure to click HERE to see if your country is on the list of those exempted or not!
- Be prepared to offer the address where you will be staying. You will be asked either verbally or in writing (or both) to state the address where you will be staying in the USA. A hotel address is sufficient (and even reassuring, as often what they are wanting to verify is that you intend to return home).
- If your ticket is a one-way ticket, be prepared to also show your return ticket home. If you plan to stay in the USA beyond the conference, and particularly if you are leaving out of a different airport than the one to which you arrived, you may be entering the USA on a one-way ticket. If that is the case, be prepared to answer questions about why, and to show documentation of your ticket to return home.
- If you are bringing any medications of any kind with you, be sure they are in their original containers. If they are out of their original containers, you may be required to present a prescription or letter from your doctor verifying that they are yours. (More on this topic is available HERE.)
- Be aware that you may be asked if you have a psychiatric diagnosis when filling out paperwork to enter the USA. Choose how you answer carefully. Most paperwork only requires that you declare a diagnosis if it is also believed to pose a threat to you or others around you. If you're uncertain how you should answer, it's best to get advice from others who have traveled to the USA recently!