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Visa information

Apply now for your visa


To visit the UK attendees may require a visa.  To see whether this applies, please visit the UK Government’s page.

Attendees can come to the UK as a Standard Visitor for up to 6 months without a visa, but can only do certain business or academic activities, for example go to a conference or a meeting.

Attendees cannot do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person, do a work placement or internship, or sell directly to the public or provide goods and services.

Check the full list of business activities and academic activities you can do as a Standard Visitor.

If you do need a visa for a holiday, a business trip or meeting, or to do a short course of study, attendees should apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.  You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months with this visa. 

SPIE recommends that you secure your travel visa before registering for the conference as cancellations after the preregistration cutoff date may result in a cancellation fee. 

Letter of Invitation
FOR CONFERENCE CHAIRS, TECHNICAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS, AND AUTHORS: Individuals requiring letters of invitation to obtain travel visas must be listed on a paper or in the programme to receive an invitation letter. If you are listed in the conference programme and need an Official Invitation Letter from SPIE for visa application purposes, please submit the completed Invitation Letter Form.

FOR EXHIBITORS: If you are an exhibitor requiring a letter of invitation from SPIE to obtain a travel visa to participate in the Exhibition, please fill out and send the Exhibitor Invitation Letter Request Form.

Requesting an invitation letter


How to request an invitation letter - for authors and attendees only

  1. Sign in to this site using your SPIE credentials (username and password)
  2. After you are signed in, click on this link to go directly to the SPIE invitation letter request form page
  3. Click on the “Apply” button to begin the invitation letter request form.
  • Complete one form per person (requests for accompanying family members can be included in the same application)
  • Your name must be listed exactly as it appears on your passport. Any differences could lead to delay or denial of your visa
  • Requests are processed based on the order received, and the date of the conference
  • You will receive an email from noreply@mail.smapply.net with a link to download a PDF of your official invitation letter after it is approved and processed. You should also make sure that the sites listed here, are allowed by your organization to ensure you receive the email.
    • Printed invitation letters are mailed by request only. Please allow up to four weeks for delivery
    • SPIE is unable to contact embassies or consulates on behalf of or in support of any individual making arrangements to attend an SPIE event


    How to request an invitation letter - for exhibitors

      To request an invitation letter, if you are an exhibitor at an SPIE event, fill out and submit the Exhibitor Invitation Letter Request Form

      • For exhibitors requiring a letter of invitation from SPIE to obtain a travel visa to participate in the exhibition
      • You must be listed as an exhibitor (or co-exhibitor) of this exhibition or your request will not be processed
      • Requests are processed and prioritized based on the order received and the date of the exhibition (usually within 3 weeks)
      • The invitation letter PDF will be sent via OneDrive with a link to access the Invitation Letter, and by FEDEX if requested
      • SPIE is unable to contact embassies or consulates in support of an individual attempting to attend an SPIE exhibition