Attendee FAQs

Have a question about registration, obtaining a Visa/passport, or conference activities? We can help! Below we have answered some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about attending the 2018 SME Annual Conference and Expo & 91st Annual Meeting of the SME-MN Section.

How do I register to attend?

You can register online by visiting Register. For additional questions regarding registration for the conference, please contact SME Customer Service at or 303.948.4200. To receive advanced registration rates, SME must receive your registration form and payment by January 29, 2018. After January 29, 2018, on-site registration fees apply. One-day advanced registration is not available for exhibit personnel.

How do I obtain a visa to attend the conference?

SME will provide any international delegates with assistance obtaining a visa and appropriate use of passports.

Visas/Temporary Visitors to the U.S./Passports

International visitors add greatly to our nation’s culture, education and economic life. We continue the proud tradition of welcoming visitors to the United States, with secure borders and open doors.

Most Canadian citizens and many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can come to the United States (U.S.) without a visa if they meet certain requirements. All Visa Waiver Program travelers must present a machine-readable passport at the U.S. port of entry to enter the U.S. without a visa; otherwise a U.S. visa is required. Other foreign citizens will need a nonimmigrant visa.

Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers (citizens of other countries), coming to the U.S. temporarily. The visa, placed in your passport when issued, allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection immigration officer to enter the U.S. A visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S.

International travelers come to the U.S. for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please visit The Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need, when you apply.

Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you. Apply for your visa well in advance of your travel!


Review your visa status, and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal.

Review the Visa Wait Times information for interview appointments and visa processing at each embassy and consular section worldwide available at Visit the embassy or consular section website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and other instructions. Plan on an interview, as well as quick inkless fingerprint scans at the U.S. embassy or consulate, which is required for most visa applicants. Some visa applications require additional administrative processing, which requires some additional time. Applicants are advised when they apply.

U.S. Visa Policy

We welcome travelers from around the world coming as temporary visitors, or to immigrate to the United States, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws.

Visa Processing Time Information

Recent changes in U.S. laws governing visa policy and procedures have increased the amount of time it can take to obtain a visa. Apply early! Even with the visa processing improvements that have been made and will continue to be made, it is inevitable that delays will sometimes occur. Processing times will vary. The State Department’s goal is visa delivery no more than 30 days from the time of application in most cases, although cases that require administrative processing could take longer. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of application. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Therefore, before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 90 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later. If you want to visit the U.S. and require a visa, plan to schedule your visa interview well in advance of your departure date. Learn more by and contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply for detailed “how-to” instructions.

Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 38 participating countries* to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor [B] visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Nationals of VWP countries* must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on VWP, and therefore, some travelers from VWP countries* are not eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are required to have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel, are screened at the port of entry into the United States, and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.

Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

Citizens or nationals of the following countries are currently eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP, unless citizens of one of these countries are also a national of Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan.

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom**

**To be eligible to travel under the VWP, British citizens must have the unrestricted right of permanent abode in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.

For additional information on obtaining your travel visa, please see

How can I get a Letter of Invitation?

SME will send a letter of invitation upon request. Invitations are intended to help international delegates raise travel funds or obtain a visa. Request for letters of invitation must include: attendee name, job title, company name, mailing address (PO Boxes are not acceptable), city, state/province, country, zip/postal code, phone and fax number, and beginning and end dates of travel. Requests should also provide the address, phone and fax number of appropriate embassy.



Attention: Customer Service
12999 E. Adam Aircraft Circle
Englewood, CO 80112, USA


Please send requests for letters of invitation to:

What is the SME Hardship Member Registration and how can I apply?

SME has created a one-time, complimentary hardship registration option for the 2018 SME Annual Conference & Expo and 91st Annual Meeting of the SME-MN Section available to SME Members only. This option is limited to 150 members and will be on a first come, first served basis. Qualified candidates are members who are unemployed or otherwise unable to pay full registration fees, and are not receiving any type of company reimbursement for meeting expenses. Authors and session chairs are given preference.

Members must submit a request in writing disclosing the circumstances for the hardship request no later than January 29, 2018 to be considered. Please submit a written request to or fax to 303.979.3461, Attn: Membership - SME ACE 2018 Hardship Member Application.

How can I get a copy of an invoice or receipt?

Please send all receipt inquiries to Experient, SME's Official Registration & Housing Vendor, at 800.424.5249 or

If I pre-register, when do I receive my badge and conference materials?

All badges and conference related materials will be distributed onsite at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

What does my full conference registration include?

The full conference registration fee includes a copy of the proceedings, participation in all technical sessions, access to the exhibit hall and exhibit hall social functions including the Sunday grand opening reception, Monday lunch, Tuesday afternoon social, and Wednesday continental breakfast.

Are Short Courses included in the registration?

Short courses and workshops require an additional registration fee to attend.

What are the exhibit hall hours?

The exhibit hall is open Sunday, February 25, 2018 from 4:00pm - 6:00pm; Monday, February 26, 2018 from 11:00am - 5:30pm; Tuesday, February 27, 2018 from 11:00am - 5:30pm; and Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 8:00am - 12:00pm. These times are subject to change.

When does on-site registration for attendees open?

Onsite registration for all attendees and exhibitors will open on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 8:00am at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Is there a one-day registration option?

An individual may purchase one-day registrations for access to that day's technical sessions and access to the exhibit hall for that day. If you plan to attend more than one day of the conference, a full conference registration must be purchased. One-day registrations are not available for exhibit representatives

May I bring a guest to meals and social functions?

All guests need to be registered and must wear an official badge to functions. Purchase of additional tickets may be required if applicable.

How do I change my address or other contact information?

If you have changes to your SME Annual Conference & Expo registration, please email Experient, SME's Official Registration & housing Vendor, at If you have changes to your SME Membership records, please email

What is the refund and cancellation policy for conference registration?

If circumstances require you to cancel your SME Annual Conference & Expo registration, all cancellations must be submitted in writing by emailing Experient, SME’s Official Registration & Housing Vendor, at Cancellations received on or before January 29, 2018 will receive a full refund, less a $100 processing fee. There are no refunds for no-shows and cancellations postmarked after January 29, 2018. Registrants are responsible for cancellation of their own hotel accommodations. Substitutions will be accepted in writing at no charge until January 29, 2018. After January 30, 2018, a $25 fee will be charged for substitutions. NO REFUNDS for Registration, Short Course, Social Function, Tour and Field Trip tickets will be issued after the January 29, 2018 deadline.

Why should I stay at one of the meeting's official hotels?

SME makes every effort to keep down the financial costs associated with attending the SME Annual Conference. Our team works hard to negotiate low rates at hotels that are not only located within close proximity, but also maintain high standards so our attendees enjoy all aspects of the conference. In addition, SME commits to a block of rooms at the hotel on behalf of conference attendees and has a financial obligation to fill the block. By staying within the block you are not only supporting the association, but you are also helping to create opportunities for valuable networking outside of the convention center.

How do I reserve housing for the 2018 SME Annual Conference & Expo and 91st Annual Meeting of the SME-MN Section?

Hotel accommodations are available at the Hilton Minneapolis, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, Marriott City Center, Millennium Minneapolis, Hilton Garden Inn, and Crowne Plaza Minneapolis. Housing reservations can be made online by visiting Hotel.

A valid credit card number must accompany the completed hotel reservation form to guarantee your reservation.

Acknowledgments will be sent either by email or fax from Experient, SME’s Official Registration & Housing Vendor.

I have a question about registration, transportation, hotel accommodations or a general question that is not covered here, who should I contact?

If you have additional questions, please contact SME customer service at 303.948.4200 or 1.800.763.3132 (US Only), or at