SIGGRAPH Conferences: An International Affair

SIGGRAPH Conferences: An International Affair

By Jessica Sommerville

SIGGRAPH conferences are truly international events, with attendees traveling from all over the world to exchange ideas and accomplishments in the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques. ACM SIGGRAPH holds this exchange of knowledge as central to the organization’s values, and the SIGGRAPH conferences embody a commitment to diversity, understanding and mutual respect.

With registration now open for SIGGRAPH 2017, this post provides information to those from overseas who wish to attend the conference in Los Angeles. Information for international visitors is particularly important in light of recent proposed changes to U.S. immigration procedures and policies.  SIGGRAPH conferences provide information to assist our international attendees with resources they may need to make certain they have correct visas and/or travel documents before attending the conference.

Recently, ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery, of which ACM SIGGRAPH is a special interest group), made the following statement on its website:

“ACM supports the statute of International Council for Science in that the free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists. All individuals are entitled to participate in any ACM activity.” (Check out the full statement here)

Maintaining a global profile for SIGGRAPH conferences allows more companies and individuals to come to the table and, in turn, moves research forward in emerging technologies like mixed reality and visualization. Research advances drive new products and applications, not only in film and entertainment, but also in healthcare, automotive, smart products, and space exploration. ACM SIGGRAPH is an international organization and most areas of study within computer graphics and interactive techniques are trans-national in nature. SIGGRAPH conferences celebrate that international community and provide ways for individuals to connect, learn and grow.

As an international traveler to SIGGRAPH conferences myself, I always feel invigorated and inspired when I am in the presence of so many talented individuals from all over the world. There is a certain energy in a room when you put so many like-minded people together. Through my attendance at SIGGRAPH conferences, I have managed to make and keep lifelong friends and colleagues.

ACM SIGGRAPH is an inclusive organization, and SIGGRAPH conferences reflect this inclusivity through the diversity or speakers, presenters, panelists, exhibitors and attendees. There are also specific committees like the ACM SIGGRAPH International Resources Committee (of which I’m a part) that aim to foster an international spirit at SIGGRAPH conferences. Be sure to check out the Regional Sessions if you are interested in learning about what is happening within of a specific country or region.

If you are an international visitor planning to attend SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, here are some things you need to know before you go.

VISA

Most countries require you to apply online for a visa long before you visit the U.S. SIGGRAPH conferences have put together a useful step by step page for the visa process. A couple of important things to remember:

  • A visa support letter from SIGGRAPH 2017 may be needed in order to apply for a visa.
  • Once you have completed conference registration, you will be sent a visa support letter. The support letter can be accessed by any person with a valid registration through the .

SIGGRAPH conferences recommend you contact your local visa office to determine the appropriate time to begin your application process

SIGGRAPH conferences support the international community and wants visitors to feel safe and assured when traveling to the conference. If a visitor is refused entry and can provide appropriate documentation, SIGGRAPH conferences will refund their registration at no penalty. This is something SIGGRAPH conferences have always done for those who have had their visas refused. For this and other questions please contact confadmin@siggraph.org.

VISA Waiver Program

There are 38 countries around the world whose citizens are entitled to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Most citizens of these participating countries are allowed to travel throughout the US for 90 days for tourism or business without first obtaining a visa. However, due to recent immigration policy changes, it is recommended that visitors from these countries double check the status of their VWP entitlement and entry into the U.S.

Important Contacts

More information on international traveling can be found at the SIGGRAPH 2017 International Attendees’ FAQ. For questions regarding visas or letters of support, international attendees can contact the ACM SIGGRAPH International Resources Committee at international@siggraph.org.

In order to receive the best advice possible, for questions specifically related to the executive orders or customs, it is best to speak to your U.S. consulate or contact border security at https://help.cbp.gov/.

Encouraging and supporting an international presence at SIGGRAPH conferences creates a wide array of benefits and opportunities. These benefits can be seen in the progress of the computer graphics industry within the US and around the world, and also the enrichment, education and employment of individuals in the industry.

We hope you will join us in Los Angeles, 30 July – 3 August, 2017 at SIGGRAPH 2017.


Jessica Sommerville, born and bred in Sydney, Australia, is a digital artist currently working as a modeler in the Art Department at Animal Logic on The Lego Ninjago Movie. She is also a member of the ACM SIGGRAPH International Resources Committee.

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