As you know, ACL 2023 will be held in Toronto, Canada, July 9-14 2023. The citizens of most countries need either an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa to visit Canada. You can find out if you need a visa to travel to Canada at this page.
The citizens of the countries eligible for eTas generally just need a valid passport, and can get their eTAs issued in minutes. But applying for a visa takes quite a long time to process at this moment. To give a few examples, as of January 20 2023 (ACL submission deadline), this official calculator made the following predictions for the expected processing time for applications from:
- Application from China: 28 days
- Application from Japan: 73 days
- Application from India: 130 days
- Application from Brazil: 158 days
- Application from France: 189 days
- Application from Russia: 239 days
- Application from Kenya: 289 days
Note that these are estimates based on where the application is processed, not the country of origin. The citizens of Japan or France don’t need visas to visit Canada, but if a citizen of another country needs to apply for a Canadian visa while residing in France or Japan - the above is the official processing time estimate.
We don’t know how accurate these estimates are. We have applied to register the conference with the immigration authorities, but it is unclear if that will result in any expedited treatment. If you need a visa to visit Canada, you will need to use the above calculator for your location and see if you are willing to bet that the processing will be completed in time. The application fee is 100 CAD.
Additionally you may be required to submit biometrics. It is possible to check if you need to do that here. The biometrics fee is 85 CAD, and submitting is only possible in dedicated visa application centers, not necessarily available in all countries. If you are required to submit biometrics, the existing centers can be searched here.
If you are planning to try to attend in person and need the visa, we recommend that you start the visa application as soon as possible. Normally letters of invitation to the authors are issued after acceptance notifications, but in this case we have to start issuing them on the basis of papers being under review. We will soon reach out to all authors, reviewers and organizers of ACL with instructions on how to apply for the invitation letter if they need one.
For the people who would like to attend ACL, but are not authors, reviewers or organizers: the invitations to faculty and PhD students of relevant NLP/CL/CS programs, or industry participants from companies doing specialized work in NLP/CL (including all ACL sponsors) will be considered case-by-case. This route is also available to prospective workshop authors whose submission sites have not opened yet. Please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org, communicating the following: name, institution, address, role in conference (author/reviewer/workshop organizer/invited speakers/other participants), additional reasons/justifications for attending. Our dedicated visa assistance team will be in touch to help out with the visa letter request.
If you have an active submission under review or are a reviewer, area or senior chair for ACL, do not reach out by email. Please wait for instructions that will come through softconf email by February 1st.
When submitting the visa application, you will need to provide your travel, education, and employment history. The application form asks for the contact details of the local representative for ACL. That role will be performed by Graeme Hirst (University of Toronto), and the contact details to copy into the application form will be provided in the invitation letter.
We are truly sorry that the current visa processing times for Canada are what they are, and that all we can do is help the participants start the applications as early as possible. We hope that the future conferences will not have similar issues.