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Updated refund policy for Attendees and Financial Aid recipients traveling to PyCon internationally

International travel to the United States has become a greater risk for many in our community. In light of current conditions, PyCon is providing additional support for international travelers. If you are travelling internationally to PyCon, take note of the following information. Financial Aid applicants should take note of additional information specific to that process in the second section.

For All International Travellers to PyCon

In order to better assist our international community, we have extended the following clauses from the 2017 refund policy for Financial Aid recipients to our refund policy for all attendees of PyCon: 
  • If despite holding a visa you are denied entry upon arrival to the United States, then after you pursue and receive whatever refund your airline might be able to offer, PyCon wants to send you enough money to cover the rest of the cost of your airfare. You will need to document that you indeed arrived in the United States and were denied entry.
  • If despite holding a visa you are denied entry upon arrival to the United States, but used our registration page to book a room in a conference hotel, our staff will personally work with the hotel to make sure you do not have to pay a cancellation fee.
  • If despite holding a visa you are denied entry upon arrival to the United States, PyCon will fully refund your registration fee. While this is more serious for our conference budget — at such a late date, we will be unlikely to be able to register someone else in your place — we have decided to put the financial safety of our international travelers first.
In the event that you have a refund request or questions, please contact our registration team: pycon-reg at python.org

For International Travellers who are applying for Financial Aid

We are keeping in place the following policies from 2017 for recipients of Financial Aid grants.

While PyCon’s Financial Aid program does strive to make travel possible for a broader audience than can not comfortably attend the conference on their own budget, it cannot eliminate the risks of travel. Indeed, our mechanism for delivering awarded funds — a physical check that must be collected at the conference itself — can only succeed for travelers who actually reach PyCon.
So, let’s review the risks of traveling to PyCon in hope of receiving a Financial Aid disbursement, and then learn about the promise that the conference is making this year:
  • Financial Aid is designed to help with travel expenses, not with your visa application fee. Financial Aid applicants have always been responsible for paying their own visa application fee, whether the visa is granted or denied. This remains true for PyCon 2018. So keep in mind that if your visa is denied, PyCon will not be giving you Financial Aid or refund your visa processing fee.
  • You should apply for your visa, if you decided to attend, right after you receive our response to your Financial Aid application (March 2, 2018).
  • As you start the visa application process, go ahead and register for the conference. You can do so without risk: we always fully refund a registration fee when a visa application is denied. We even waive our usual $25 fee for processing a cancellation — you receive back the full registration fee that you paid!
  • We advise you to delay any non-refundable travel purchases until after you have been granted a visa. Many applicants wait until they have their visa in hand before they even book a hotel room, and almost everyone waits until the visa arrives before purchasing airfare.
  • Beyond those guidelines, we have traditionally provided only the promise that each Financial Aid recipient, if they make it to PyCon, will receive their disbursement. This obviously burdens each applicant with a risk: that if their travel plans go awry and they cannot reach Cleveland, that they will receive no Financial Aid. They will have to try cancelling their hotel room in time to receive a refund, and ask their airline if any kind of a refund is possible.
  • In previous years, PyCon assumed this risk to be a reasonable one. But we want to make a new stipulation here in 2018. First, if despite holding a visa you are denied entry upon arrival to the United States, then after you pursue and receive whatever refund your airline might be able to offer, PyCon wants to send you enough of your Financial Aid grant to cover the rest of the cost of your airfare (or the whole grant, if the airfare cost more). You will need to document that you indeed arrived in the United States and were denied entry.
  • Second: if despite holding a visa you are denied entry upon arrival to the United States, but used our registration page to book a room in a conference hotel, our staff will personally work with the hotel to make sure you do not receive a cancellation fee.
  • Third: if despite holding a visa you are denied entry upon arrival to the United States, PyCon will fully refund your registration fee. While this is more serious for our conference budget — at such a late date, we will be unlikely to be able to register someone else in your place — we have decided to put the financial safety of our Financial Aid recipients from overseas first.
The deadline for applying to PyCon 2018 for Financial Aid is this coming Thursday, February 15th (23:59:59 on Feb 15th AoE)! The link to the application is on our main Financial Aid page: https://us.pycon.org/2018/financial-assistance/. If you have a refund request or questions, please contact our Financial Aid team: pycon-aid at python.org.

In Conclusion

We hope that these extra guarantees beyond the normal terms of our refund policy will help attendees plan more confidently and will continue to make PyCon 2018 an option for as wide a slice of the worldwide Python community as possible.
- The PyCon Staff and Organizers

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