Getting Visas to an IETF Meeting

We wanted to let you know that a number of Chinese participants have had trouble for getting visas to this meeting. Ray Pelletier and several others* have made a heroic effort to improve the situation by exerting any influence they might have on various embassies, the state department, even congressmen. We cannot thank you enough!

This effort was initiated after we learned that three Nomcom members did not have visas, and that polling registered Chinese participants, 25 other people were in a similar situation. The situation has now improved greatly, although several people were still waiting for visas a couple of days ago (including one IAB member). But a handful will not get their visas in time.

Our meeting is about to start, and by all accounts looks to be very interesting and successful. The meeting is well attended, we will be in a beautiful place, and we have a lot of support from many volunteers, hosts and sponsors. We look forward to working with you all!

But we did want to point out that the visa situation is bad. Imagine what it would feel like to be a week or two away from having to fly to a meeting and not having a visa. Or not getting one at all. We wanted to convey how much the IETF leadership cares about this situation. Looking into the future, we need our key people in the meetings, and we need to minimise the uncertainty involved in travelling to the meetings! We believe this issue is a key problem for our efforts in ensuring that the IETF is an accessible forum with broad participation from everyone who wants to work on Internet standards.

Chris Griffiths, IAOC Chair, Michael Richardsson, Nomcom Chair, and Jari Arkko, IETF Chair

*) You know who you are. Thank you.