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SPI URGES PROSPECTIVE INTERNATIONAL VISITORS TO NPE2012 TO START THE PROCESS OF OBTAINING A U.S. VISA ‘WELL IN ADVANCE’

WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A., June 22, 2012: With only nine months until the NPE2012 international plastics exposition, prospective attendees from countries whose citizens require a visa to enter the United States should start the process of obtaining one well in advance of the show, it was announced today by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. SPI produces the triennial NPE, which next takes place on April 1-5, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.

Most travelers to the U.S. must obtain a visa, in a process that can take anywhere from one to three months and sometimes longer. The process involves 1) making an appointment for an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the individual’s home country; 2) submitting an application, passport, and supporting documents at the interview; and 3) allowing for a period of time after the interview for the application to be reviewed and processed. One of the required documents is an official letter of invitation to attend NPE2012 from SPI, which can be requested as part of registering in advance for the event. Advance online registration will become available at www.npe.org starting in September.

“While the United States government has long worked with SPI to build international attendance at NPE, the U.S. Department of State strictly enforces visa requirements,” said Gene Sanders, SPI’s senior vice president of trade shows and conference. “The time it takes for processing an application varies with the location of the embassy and other factors, and there are always prospective attendees who fail to get visas in time for NPE. That is why we are urging international visitors to start the visa process early.”

Countries whose citizens are required to obtain a U.S. visa include all nations in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa; nearly all nations in Asia, including China and India; and Russia, along with some of the nations of Eastern Europe. There are 36 countries whose citizens normally do not require a U.S. visa because they participate in a “Visa Waiver Program” (VWP) administered by the U.S. Department of State.

More information on travel and visas is available on the NPE2012 website at:
http://www.npe.org/Orlando/content.cfm?ItemNumber=4426&navItemNumber=6613.

Inquiries to SPI should be addressed to Carla Haus at 1-202-974-5276 or chaus@plasticsindustry.org.

The U.S. Department of State has posted extensive information on the visa process at http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html. The website includes a page with links to the sites of U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world, typically providing local visa information in the host-country language, as well as English. There is also a list of countries participating in the VWP.

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The NPE2012 international plastics exposition will take place Sunday through Thursday, April 1-5, 2012, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The NPE2012 educational program will begin on Sunday. Monday will be the first day of the four-day trade show. NPE is produced by the SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. Visit www.npe.org.

Founded in 1937, SPI is the plastics industry trade association representing the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States. SPI's member companies represent the entire plastics industry supply chain, including processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers and raw materials suppliers. The U.S. plastics industry employs 1.1 million workers and provides nearly $379 billion in annual shipments. www.plasticsindustry.org.