The 2016 Our Ocean Conference
September 15-16, 2016
Washington, D.C. – Media Advisory #1

Download the Accreditation Form and email it to no later than Tuesday, August 23, 2016 10 a.m. EDT. Please subject line your email submission “Our Ocean 2016 – Media Accreditation Request.”


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will host the third annual Our Ocean conference on September 15-16 in Washington, D.C., to catalyze global action to protect our ocean from the effects of human activity, including unsustainable and illegal fishing, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts.

As with the previous Our Ocean conferences in Washington and Santiago, Chile, the 2016 conference will be an engaging, inspiring, and interactive event with an emphasis on commitments for action by participants and other stakeholders around the globe. European supporters have already committed to holding the 2017 Our Ocean conference.

About 450 participants will attend this year's two-day event, including more than 30 foreign ministers, environment and fisheries ministers, and other established and emerging ocean leaders in government, science, industry, and civil society.

Young, cutting-edge innovators and entrepreneurs will share the stage with well-known global leaders in ocean conservation.

The U.S. Department of State, Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and the Sustainable Oceans Alliance are co-hosting the “Our Ocean, One Future: Leadership Summit,” as a parallel event to the Our Ocean conference, with the support of the Georgetown Science, Technology & International Affairs Program and the Georgetown Global Futures Initiative.

High-level ocean leaders will join a competitively selected group of 150 university students from around the world to build leadership strategies to spur action on the threats to our ocean.

The Summit aims to engage the next generation of political leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, and civil society to identify solutions and commit to actions to protect our ocean so it can continue to sustain us all into the future.

This advisory outlines preliminary information regarding visas, customs and accreditation requirements for journalists intending to cover the Our Ocean conference. 


Conference events on September 15-16 will be held at the U.S. Department of State’s Harry S. Truman Building.  In addition to a number of panel or plenary sessions, the Our Ocean conference will feature open exhibition space highlighting the latest innovations and research – including dynamic displays or exhibits from artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs.

In conjunction with the conference space, a business center will be available for credentialed media with limited workspace, wireless internet access, and power outlets provided free of charge.  Additional capabilities and operating hours will be outlined for credentialed journalists.

 Due to spatial and security limitations, coverage opportunities at the conference may be pooled and require an additional overlay for access.  Accreditation does not guarantee admission into pooled events; pool participants will be notified separately and after the completion of the credentialing period. 


Media representatives wishing to cover conference events on September 15-16 and/or to enter conference exhibit hall, must apply to receive a conference credential by downloading the Accreditation Form and emailing it to no later than 10 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. (Please subject line your email submission “Our Ocean 2016 – Media Accreditation Request”.)

To access any open conference event, all media will require a conference-issued credential for access, regardless of existing federal, official or press identification. All pool participants must register for accreditation.  Assignment editors, we advise accrediting individuals in case of contingencies or illness, as we regretfully cannot provide for late or last-minute credentialing. 

The U.S. Department of State will review and notify all applicants in the order they were submitted.


TThe agenda is available on the conference website and will be updated as details are finalized.  Media representatives should expect media opportunities on September 15-16, beginning at about 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m. each day.

We anticipate a variety of interview opportunities with U.S. officials and other conference attendees throughout the day and credentialed media will be advised as details finalize. For specific interview requests relating to the Our Ocean conference and related issues, please email


The U.S. Department of State anticipates streaming live of a number of programming sessions of the Our Ocean conference, provided free of charge and in the public domain. Additional official video and still images will be posted to the conference website.


The U.S. Department of State will not provide lodging/accommodations nor travel subsidy for media participating in the Our Ocean conference. 


No complimentary food will be provided during the conference.


It is strongly recommended that journalists planning to travel to the United States start the visa application process as soon as possible regardless of the conference accreditation process. Visa approval does not guarantee accreditation, nor vice-versa.

Media traveling on “I” visas, who are NOT traveling on the same plane as the Head of delegation/Head of State:

All media covering the conference who are not U.S. citizens, or who do not currently hold a U.S. work permit, are required to have an “I” visa.  The Visa Waiver Program does not cover individuals coming to the U.S. to work, even for a short period of time.  Additionally, the Visa Waiver Program is not applicable to persons traveling on diplomatic passports.  Visit for more information.

Media Equipment: Media bringing in equipment (from outside the U.S.) to the conference should obtain a Temporary Importation Bond (TIB) or ATA Carnet.

A TIB allows members of the media to transport equipment (tools of the trade) without incurring duty.  For those unfamiliar with the process, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends hiring a broker to facilitate the process. A list of brokers may be found on the DHS website.  Additional information may be found at:

An ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows for the temporary importation of professional equipment, and is accepted for goods traveling between the U.S. and other designated countries.  The International Chamber of Commerce maintains a list of Carnet-issuing organizations in each participating country.  For a list of participating countries and more information on how to obtain an ATA Carnet, please visit:

Additional information regarding ATA carnets may be found at:

Media traveling on “I” visas as part of an official delegation on the same plane as the Head of Delegation/Head of State:

Media must request a U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S.-VISIT exemption to avoid the TIB/Carnet requirement.  Please contact your Embassy in Washington, D.C., which will make a formal request to the U.S. Department of State.  The exemption is specific to the individual visa holder and is only valid for (1) entry to the U.S. on a specified date.  A Diplomatic Note from the corresponding foreign Embassy requesting for U.S. –Visit Exemption should be sent to with biographical data of the individual needing the U.S.-VISIT exemption as well as a flight itinerary and substantial justification.  U.S.-VISIT exemptions are not automatic.

Media who are Official Photographers/Videographers or Press Officers traveling on “A” or “G” visas on the same plane as, or traveling independently from the Head of Delegation/Head of State:

Government official photographers/videographers or press officers who travel on “A” or “G” visas require a Diplomatic Note to allow equipment to enter the U.S. without being assessed duties.  Please email for media interview requests and with any logistical media inquiries.