For International Travelers

“Buddy” System

In an effort to provide additional support and solidarity to travelers from outside the U.S., we are implementing a “buddy system.”  This system pairs a traveler with another conference attendee “buddy” who is based in the U.S. This buddy will be a person with whom you share your travel details and check in or contact should you encounter any difficulties or delays during your travels. They will also be able to reach out to your designated personal contact if you like.  To register for a conference buddy, please fill out this google form with the necessary information by August 28th.  

This means that we are also looking for volunteer buddies. As a buddy, you are offering to give your personal contact information to a fellow 4S attendee coming from outside the U.S. You will be “on call” with your connection’s travel itinerary, and s/he will check in with you when s/he has landed. If there are any issues at the airport, you agree to be available via phone or if necessary, in person, at the airport to vouch for your fellow 4S attendee’s legitimate reason for being in the country. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Vivian Choi by August 28th.

Visa Information

The visa application process can take many months—so we encourage participants who will need a visa to apply as soon as possible!

Participants may request an official letter of acceptance by emailing at least one week prior to when the letter will be needed. Please include your full name, paper title, and a copy of your acceptance email.

Unfortunately, 4S is not able to contact US embassies in support of an individual attempting to gain entry into the US to attend the meeting.

For detailed information about applying for a visa, please refer to the US Department of State web site.

For Nationals and Citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries (updated April 26, 2019):

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

All nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries are required by law to obtain a travel authorization prior to initiating travel to the United States under the VWP. This authorization may be obtained through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), an internet application administered by the Department of Homeland Security through a US government web site. It is recommended that you apply as soon as you know your travel plans.

Register online for entry to the United States under the VWP: Visa Waiver Program Frequently Asked Questions.

4S Statement on the Travel Ban

Below is the 4S statement from 1/31/17 regarding political developments in the US, including the travel ban.

If you cannot obtain a visa due to the travel ban, please contact us at so that the Program Committee can arrange alternatives ways for you to participate in 4S 2019 New Orleans.

Statement of the Council of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) regarding political developments in the United States

The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) is an international association that brings together diverse researchers, teachers and practitioners who study the social aspects of science, technology, and medicine.  4S members live and do research around the world, and have developed a rich body of scholarship that demonstrates the value of cultural, intellectual, and political pluralism in all domains of society, including education and scientific research, technological innovation and industry, health care, and environmental protection.  As such, 4S aspires to be a fully inclusive organization, and supports the free movement of people and ideas across boundaries of all kinds.  In light of recent political developments in the United States, we reaffirm the internationalism of 4S, in fact and spirit, as well as our deep appreciation for the diverse experiences and perspectives that 4S members bring to our collective work. We are committed to justice within and beyond the worlds of scholarship that comprise our Society.

The 4S Council will be considering various ways in which Society members can express their opposition to U.S. presidential policies, particularly the discriminatory Executive Order of 27 January 2017, which restricts travel into the U.S. by those from seven majority Muslim countries.  We will also be joining with sister societies, based in the United States and around the world, to affirm our support for the protection of academic freedom and human rights and to register our condemnation of this Order, and of other unjust and unlawful developments as they may arise.

Most immediately, we would like to open a channel of communication regarding concerns about this year’s 4S conference to be held in Boston from August 30 – September 2nd.  We encourage anyone planning to submit an abstract to do so, even if they may be prevented from attending the conference owing either to border restrictions or to matters of conscience.  If the Executive Order remains in place into the summer, those unable or unwilling to attend will be included in the program, and their decisions regarding participation noted as requested.

Please send specific expressions of concern, or suggestions for 4S Council actions, to Steve Zehr, 4S Secretary, at

Yours in solidarity,

Lucy and Kim

Lucy Suchman, 4S President

Kim Fortun, 4S President-elect

Please also see a follow-up message from the 4S president here: