Many GUADEC attendees need to acquire visas before they can enter Europe to attend GUADEC. The rules for this process vary from country to country. In some cases, it may help the applicant to have an invitation letter to the conference and, for those who are sponsored, confirmation of their travel sponsorship.
The rules and regulations for visa letters vary from country to country, so the GUADEC organisers should always check what the best approach is with the government body which is responsible for issuing visas.
The GUADEC organisers must never take on liability (be responsible) for visitors. In many European countries, the issuer of the letter will not be responsible for the person requesting the visa, but this is not always the case. Wherever possible, invitation letters should be issued by a legal entity rather than individuals.
The venue may be able to provide some kind of invite letter to complement the one provided by the organization team. You should discuss this with the venue early on. Having an letter on e.g. University letterhead paper can impress the embassy officials when they are reviewing a visa application!
Local team coordinator
- Contact the correct authorities to find out who has the legal responsibility for individuals with an invitation
- Find out the rules and regulations around visas
- Find an appropriate person to sign the letters
Travel Invitations (part of local team)
- Basic checks for VISA requests (there may be people just trying to get a VISA rather then being interested in GUADEC)
- Process the requests in a timely fashion (i.e. ensure daily processing in the run-up to the conference)
- Issue the letters
In the past we had issues that letters did not look legitimate. Please remember that anyone processing VISA requests will not know what GNOME is or even understand what F/LOSS software is and how our community works. As such, the letter should explain the nature of the event, which invovled organisations are not for profit and why it is important for the person to attend the event.
If possible write the letter in the capacity of an official position rather than as a private person. However, writing it as private person is generally fine when the circumstances are properly explained.
NOTE: We have *never* done this, but this process has been suggested by the German embassy to China.
When we have multiple people applying to the same Consulate/Embassy, then bulk-processing can simplify matters for all sides. To do so you will need to talk to the embassy directly in addition to issuing the letter normally. The Consulate/Embassy receives a template of the letter and will also receive a list of all people who received a letter according to this template. This allows bulk processing.
Questions for Applicants
Applicants will generally need to provide the following information:
- Name and address of the embassy or consulate general where you will apply for the visa
- Full name, as it appears on the passport:
- Last name:
- Pronoun (he or she):
- Living place address:
- Name and address of workplace:
- Dates of stay in the city where the event will take place (check in date - check out date):
- Name and address of the place of stay:
- GNOME Foundation membership status
- Links that show your involvement in GNOME (foundation membership, blog, commits, mailing list archives, and/or Bugzilla history):
- If you have approved sponsorship by the GNOME Foundation, you don't need to provide these.
- Reasons to be at the event:
- Your personal motivation
- You contributions to the conference (e.g. accepted talk)
- Date of birth:
- Passport number:
- For sponsored people (is cross-checked with the travel committee):
- Amount sponsored for air travel:
- Number of nights sponsored for accommodations:
- Dates for the nights sponsored (check in date - check out date):
- Does the sponsorship cover all travel and accommodation costs:
- Issued by local organisation/Ismael
- Issued by Neil
- The letter was found to be lacking for numerous reasons resulting in rejections, e.g.:
- Address to "GUADEC 2017" looks official/like a company. A mobile phone and residential area address sounds like it is a person. There was no explanation as to why this was the case.
https://gnome.org was referenced for the Foundation rather than the Foundations website
2016 (in German):
- Issued by private person
- For at least one Visa application we were required to provide proof that Linux Tag e.V. (the organizing entity) existed.