MESA - Middle East Studies Association



San Antonio International Airport (SAT)


MESA no longer contracts with airlines because the best fares typically can be found on the internet through the various available travel portals (Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, etc.).

Things To Do in San Antonio

Getting Around

VIVA, VIA's new bus service line to popular destinations (

River Taxi ( Cruise the River Walk to access dining and entertainment venues. Strolling along the River Walk is fun, too!

Both Uber and Lyft operate in San Antonio.

Parking at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio

  • Overnight Valet $39
  • Overnight Self Park $29

International Travelers

Know Your Rights: What To Do When Encountering Law Enforcement at Airports and Other Ports of Entry into the U.S. (helpful tips from the ACLU)

Requesting a Letter of Invitation for Visa Applications

If you are needing an official letter from MESA, please complete this form.

Visa Waiver Program Changes

Alert for those who normally travel to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Changes have taken place including new passport requirements (e-passports now required), and restrictions for those who have traveled to one of these countries since March 1, 2011

  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • Somalia
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • Yemen

If you have traveled to one of the above countries since March 1, 2011 you cannot travel to the U.S. under the VWP. You will need a visa.


As of April 1, 2016, e-passports are required for those traveling under the VWP. These passports have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page, and a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. Information:

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

The Department of Homeland Security has established the “Electronic System for Travel Authorization,” an automated system to determine eligibility to travel under the VWP. All persons traveling under the VWP must apply for an ESTA. Approved ESTA applications are good for a period of two years. Further information is available here:

As always, we suggest getting everything in order for travel to the U.S. in advance of purchasing airline tickets. We encourage you to read the information on these new programs by following the above links.

Share your stories of border crossing troubles with MESA's Executive Director, Amy Newhall at

Electronic Device Restrictions

The Transportation Security Administration ban on main cabin carry on of larger electronic devices (laptops, Kindles, tablets, cameras, etc.) has been lifted at all airports except the King Khalid Airport in Saudi Arabia. If traveling to the US from that airport, these devices must be transported in checked baggage. See



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