Travel Information

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Contents

Planning the trip

Visa: Getting a visa to the US may, in some countries, take a long time. Please make sure that you apply for your visa with sufficient time in reserve. Once you are registered for RoboCup 2007, we will provide you with an invitation letter if you need it for your visa application. Please note that after you request a RoboCup invitation letter you are not allowed to make any changes in your registration. For more information about visa requirements look at the Bureau of Consular Affairs

Baggage Allowance: Please make sure you know the baggage allowance of your airlines to avoid a luggage rejection or excess fees on the day of your fight.


Health insurance: The US does not provide free medical care. We strongly urge you to purchase travel heath insurance in case you are injured or become ill during your trip.


Shipping: You might be sending your equipment in advance. Look at RoboCup shipping to find out more information.

For more information about customs please visit: http://www.foreignborn.com/visas_imm/entering_us/3customsinfo-nonres.htm#declaration.

Once in Atlanta

The Airport:

International flights arrive at Hartsfield -Jackson Atlanta International Airport [1]. The airport is located approximately 10 miles south of Downtown.


From the airport:

Train: Hartfield-Jackson International Airport is connected to Atlanta with a train system - MARTA [2]. To get to the Georgia Tech campus use the North-South Rail Line to MIDTOWN Station (N4). Single fare is $1.75. Once at the station the Georgia Tech yellow trolley buses will provide you with free shuttle service between the Midtown station and the campus.[3]

Taxi: Atlanta taxis have a flat rate within the city zones. The cost from the airport to Midtown (Georgia Tech location) is 34$. Each additional person is 2$.

Car rental: There are several car rental companies located at the airport.


Around the campus: Georgia Tech provides free trolley and bus shuttles around the campus, campus housing and Midtown station.[4]

Travel facts about the USA

Currency: US Dollar (US$) = 100 cents.

Banking: Only a few of major banks exchange foreign currency. American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted throughout the USA. Traveler’s cheques are widely accepted in hotels, stores and restaurants if they are in US Dollars.

Measurement system: Imperial

Electric power: 110V 60Hz, American plug has two parallel flat blades above a circular grounding pin. If you bring electrical appliance to the USA, you will need an adaptor for the US electrical plugs. You will need a converter for the voltage change from 220V to 110V. The U.S. television system is NTSC and the DVD region is zone 1.

Telephone: The U.S. country code is 1. To dial internationally from U.S. phone you will need to dial 011 before the country code.

Time zone: Atlanta is in GMT/UTC -5 hours (Eastern) time zone, daylight saving starts in early April.

RoboCup Ambassadors?

We are aware of the fact that traveling to US might be, especially for the first comers, a confusing process and that you might have a lot of questions. That’s why we created a group of RoboCup ambassadors, people who are familiar with your region, speak your language and who voluntarily offer their help. Some of them will be also present at RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta to personally greet you and help you to orient yourself.

Iran

The RoboCup Ambassador for Iran is Roozbeh Mottaghi (rmottaghi at gatech.edu). Please contact him if you have specific questions.

US Visa Application for Iranian Teams

Visa processing time varies between one week and six months. Please plan in advance to get your visa on time. You should make an appointment for a visa interview about one month before your planned date of interview. The recommended time to make an appointment is early March for an April interview. It is not recommended to apply for a visa very early as your visa might expire before the start of competitions.

The following embassies are more familiar with the visa issuance process for Iranian people:

There is a lower chance of obtaining a US visa in European countries as they are not so familiar with the special procedure. Your visa application may be denied or you may be asked to apply in one of the above embassies.

Team members should apply for either B1 or B2 visa (preferably B1). The required documents are listed below. Based on the consulate, the documents might differ. Please double check the consulate website.

  • Visa application fee (about 100 US$)
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months from the planned date of entry into the US.
  • Completed DS-156 and DS-157 forms.
  • One 5cm X 5cm photograph. (Please refer to the websites for detailed photo requirements)
  • Invitation letter from Robocup 2007. (Your league chair will send to qualified teams the link to the request form)
  • A document that shows you have strong ties to your country of residence. This can be a school letter, employment letter, bank statement or property deeds.

Additional documents that might be helpful for interview:

  • Proof of participation in the previous competitions or a document that shows the current status of your robot.
  • Your Curriculum Vitae/Resume (required)

Registration

The registration process for Iranian teams is different from other country's process since Paypal does not support Iran. The instructions below are only for Iranian teams:

We are able to accept payment by credit card, including Visa and Mastercard, and by wire transfer. Please follow the instructions below according to your preferred method of payment. The deadline is April 11th.


  • For payment by credit card:

1) Follow the instructions on this webpage to create a request for an invoice from Georgia Robotics: https://georgiarobotics.dndchosting.com/robocup/invoice-wire-instructions.html

2) Send the above information by email to customerservice[at]georgiarobotics.com . Indicate in the email that you will be paying by credit card.

3) We will email you an invoice (after a week or so). The last page of the invoice includes a form that asks for your credit card payment information. Fax that form to the phone number indicated.

4) After we receive the fax, we will charge your credit card and send you a receipt by email.


  • For payment by wire transfer:

1) Follow the instructions on this webpage to create a request for an invoice from Georgia Robotics: https://georgiarobotics.dndchosting.com/robocup/invoice-wire-instructions.html

2) Send the above information by email to customerservice[at]georgiarobotics.com .

3) We will send you a pdf file invoice (after a week or so).

4) Special instructions for wire transfer:

Funds cannot originate from Bank Saderat or Bank Sepah.

Funds must be relayed through an intermediary bank in Europe or Dubai, UAE, Saudi Arabia.

Please include the following text in the wire:

"These funds are for students to register in the educational event RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. Participants will be attending on a tourist visa. Please reference 560.505 and 560.210."


Special Registration Procedures

Citizens of some countires including Iran are subject to Special Registration. Special Registration procedures require:

  • Being registered upon arrival to and departure from the United States
  • Being interviewed at a Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services office if remaining in the United States for more than 30 days and/or for more than one year

Your arrival is recorded by an immigration officer when you enter the United States but it is your responsibility to make certain that your departure is known and documented by a Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services inspecting officer when you leave. You are required to report your departure from the United States by appearing before a USCIS inspecting officer on the same day that you leave.

These regulations include restrictions as to which airports, seaports or land entry/exit points that you can use to depart from the United States. When you are initially registered, you will be given a list of those airports, seaports or overland exit ports you can use to leave the United States.

If you do not report your departure, depending on your personal circumstances, you might not be permitted to return to the United States.


  • USCIC office location in Atlanta: Hartsfield International Airport (Atlanta), International Concourse E, Departure/Boarding Level

All registrants should report to the information counter located in the center of the departure/boarding level on Concourse E. The INS Office can be contacted from this location.

Hours of Operation: 6:00AM – 11:00PM


Turkey

The RoboCup Ambassador for Turkey is Can Envarli (envarli at cc.gatech.edu). You can apply for Visas at the following locations:

  1. The U.S. Consulate General, Istanbul, Turkey
  2. U.S. Embassy, Ankara, Turkey

You have to purchase a PIN number to schedule a visa interview over the phone with the consulate/embassy. Make sure you have all relevant information before making this call as you cannot use the same PIN number twice to make a call.


Go here for detailed information about the visa application procedure.


Japan

Hi. My name is Oge and I'm one of the RoboCup Ambassadors for Japan. E-mail me at (onnadi3 at mail.gatech.edu) if you have any questions about coming to the U.S.


China

The Robocup ambassador for China is Xiao Han(goes by Randy). Please contact him at gtg400y@mail.gatech.edu for any questions regarding visas, things to bring, etc.


South Korea

The RoboCup Ambassador for South Korea is Cheol-Woo Jung (정철우) <cjung@gatech.edu>.
Please contact him if you have any questions regarding travel to the U.S.


You can apply the U.S. Visa at the following location.


Contact Information
Email: cjung@gatech.edu
Phone: +1 (404) 578-1709


More information is coming soon.



Taiwan

The robocup ambassador for Taiwan is Ping-Chang Shih(施秉昌), whose email address is xether.ece89@nctu.edu.tw. You can contact him if you have any questions.


Chile

Embajador de la Robocup para Chile/ Chile Robocup Ambassador:

La información para postular a una visa de visitante a los Estados Unidos está disponible en el sitio web de la Embajada Estadounidense en Chile. En resumen, los pasos para conseguir una visa de visitante son:

  • Entregar la solicitud completa y conseguir una carta de confirmación con una cita para una entrevista y/o tomada de huellas digitales (ésto se hace en una oficina de Chileexpress, no en el edificio de la Embajada Estadounidense)
  • Traer la carta de confirmación a la cita en la Embajada (algunos postulantes son eximidos de este requerimiento a discreción de la Embajada Estadounidense)
  • Ir a buscar el pasaporte con la visa

Después de entregar la solicitud para una visa, la espera para una entrevista es de un promedio de 20 dias (de acuerdo al sitio web de la embajada). Después de la entrevista hay que esperar de nuevo hasta que la visa sea procesada. Ésto es en el mejor de los casos; ciertas postulaciones pueden necesitar chequeos y permisos extras, y éso puede tomar un mes adicional. Mi sugerencia es postular 2 meses de antemano para evitar problemas. En otras palabras, a fines de Marzo o principio de Abril, sin falta.

(Nota: Yo obtuve esta información del sitio web de la embajada, y yo la transcribí aquí para dar una idea acerca del proceso de postulación a una visa como una ayuda y servicio a los participantes Chilenos en Robocup. Yo no acepto ninguna responsabilidad por errores, misenterpretaciones y sus consequencias, y dejo la responsabilidad de chequear el sitio web de la Embajada Estadounidense en los postulantes.)

Buena suerte! Si tienen preguntas, no duden en contactarme.

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The information on applying for a visitor visa to the US is available in US Embassy in Chile website. As a summary, the steps to obtain a visitor visa are:

  • Turn in a complete application and get a confirmation letter with an Embassy appointment for an interview and/or fingerprint session (this is done at a Chileexpress office, and not at the US Embassy building)
  • Bring the confirmation letter to the Embassy appointment (some applicants are waived from this requirement at the US Embassy's discretion)
  • Go pick up the passport with the visa

After turning in the application, the average wait for an interview is 20 days (according to the Embassy's website) After the interview you need to wait again until the visa is processed. This is the ideal case; some applicants may need extra checks and clearances, and this may take an additional month. My suggestion is to apply 2 months in advance in order to avoid problems. I other words, at the end of March or the beggining of April, with no exception.

(Disclaimer: I got this information from the Embassy's website, and I transcribed it here in order to give an idea of the visa application process as a help and service to Chilean Robocup participants. I do not accept any responsibility for errors, misinterpretations and their consequences, and I rest the responsibility of checking the US Embassy website on the applicants.)

Good luck! If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me.



This page is owned by Tucker Balch

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