Frequently Asked Questions for International Attendees
Where can I find out if I need a visa to attend SC09?
We provide basic visa information, but if you have specific questions that are not answered there, please see the US Department of State web site.
I need an invitation letter to apply for a visa. How can I request one?
You must register for SC09 before you can request or receive a letter of invitation. The letter will be sent automatically if you list an address is a non VWP country. If you need a visa but are listing some other address, please contact SCambassadors@info.supercomputing.org with your name, nationality, and a forwarded copy of your registration confirmation.
How can I find out if other people from my country or region are attending SC09?
A special International Attendees Center will be available at the Convention Center, specifically for international attendees. The Center is therefore a good meeting place during the conference, as it is specifically designed to provide a safe and comfortable area to network and meet other international attendees. You can also leave messages on the Message Board asking other attendees from your country or region to meet you at a specific time in the Center.
Is there an area in the International Attendees Center to hold interviews with the press, to give a presentation, or to have a meeting?
There will be a certain amount of space available for interviews or small meetings. For details, contact SCambassadors@info.supercomputing.org in advance
I have a laptop with a wireless network card. Will I be able to connect to the internet at the Portland Convention Center?
Wireless service will be available, at no cost, throughout the convention center during SC09.
I am flying internationally. How early should I leave for the Portland airport when I depart?
Most airlines now require that you check in approximately three hours in advance for international flights due to the increased security checks. You should contact your airline for more specific information. The MAX rapid transit system (details will be available through SC Your Way) is the most economical and environmentally friendly alternative; travel time is about 45 minutes from downtown or 30 minutes from the Convention Center, using the MAX Red Line.
I am planning on arriving before the conference or staying on after the conference. What is there to do in and near Portland?
Here are some websites that might be helpful to you:
Portland area information
Lonely Planet Guide to Portland
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Visit a Volcano
Timberline Lodge, on Mt. Hood
I have never been to Portland before. Where can I find a map of the area?
Portland area maps
Location of the Portland Convention Center
I have never been to the Portland Airport before. Where can I find information about the airport?
Portland International Airport is the city's major airport. It is served by most major national and international airlines, so scheduling a flight to Portland should not be a problem. The airport's website provides details about the airport's layout, along with arrival and departure times of scheduled flights.
How do I get from the airport to the convention center or downtown hotels?
There are many transport options to and from the airport. For full directions please see the airport's web site.
Where can I exchange currency?
There are many currency exchange facilities in Portland. Most banks exchange currency, as do a number of travel centers in the city. Exchange services are more limited outside of Portland, and it's best to carry US-currency travelers checks or small amounts of US cash.
If you have a credit card that permits cash advances, or an internationally recognized cash-machine card, it should work at the many machines (called "ATMs") available at banks, hotels, and even the Convention Center. These often provide the best exchange rates.
Where can I use credit cards or travelers checks in Portland?
Portland businesses accept most credit cards and US-dollar travelers checks. A few restaurants accept cash only, or cash for purchases below some threshold amount. Most businesses require a photo identification card (passport or other identification) before cashing travelers checks.
If you are purchasing items while at SC09 (registration passes, tickets, merchandise, etc.), please note that we do not accept cash-machine (ATM) cards or foreign currency. SC09 accepts only US currency or a major credit card (Visa or MasterCard).
What time zone is Portland in?
Portland is in the Pacific Time Zone, which is eight hours (seven in the summer) behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
What is Portland's climate?
Summary of monthly climate information for Portland