Skip to main content

Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance


Hero Subpage


August 18, 2023

Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance Applauds New Legislation to Address Visa Delays

“We welcome today’s legislation as it brings much-needed solutions to the prolonged visa delays faced by our friends and partners overseas, particularly in Mexico, India, and Brazil,” said Hervé Sedky, Emerald’s President and Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the ECA board of directors. “Such restrictions inhibited American business event organizers from welcoming buyers back to their events in the United States.”

“The legislation opens the doors to welcome back numerous international exhibitors, attendees, and buyers to U.S. events, revitalizing access to essential customer bases and unlocking opportunities,” Sedky continued. The impact of these delays has been far-reaching, especially on small businesses, representing 80% of the exhibitor base within the events industry. With the enactment of this legislation, a promising future awaits as we pave the way for growth and progress, where U.S. businesses can continue to thrive.”

The Visa Processing Improvement Act proposes to improve visa processing within the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in four important ways:

  • · increasing consular office flexibility and capacity,
  • · improving transparency and accountability,
  • · revising in-person interview waiver eligibility, and
  • · improving the service experience.

“Unacceptable visa delays continue to hold back the industry’s otherwise remarkable rebound,” said Vinnie Polito, Society of Independent Show Organizers Chief Executive Officer and ECA Co-President. “From setting clear goals for interview wait times to introducing new modernized processes, the Visa Processing Improvement Act would improve visa operations at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world and help our international stakeholders get back to business in the U.S.”

Introduction of the Visa Processing Improvement Act is the latest development in Congress’ increased action on visa delay-related issues. In recent weeks, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations addressed visa processing concerns in their respective State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs legislation. Additionally, the

House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations held an oversight subcommittee hearing where the impacts of visa delays on the business events sector were front and center.

“Exhibitions mean business nationwide and around the world,” said David DuBois, CMP, CAE, CTA, FASAE, CMP Fellow, International Association of Exhibitions and Events President and Chief Executive Officer and ECA Co-President. “ECA would like to thank Senators Amy Klobuchar and Jerry Moran for introducing their bipartisan legislation, which will support the continued return of trade shows, conferences, and exhibitions taking place coast to coast, as well as the countless U.S. small businesses that they work hard to serve every day.”

Going forward, ECA will be actively engaged on Capitol Hill in support of the Visa Processing Improvement Act and other Congressional efforts to reduce visa delays as part of its ongoing advocacy on this important policy priority for the business events sector.

About the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance

The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) is a coalition of ten professional, industry, and labor organizations dedicated to the advancement of the face-to-face business events industry. To learn more about ECA and its efforts, please visit