Immunotherapy is associated with durable clinical benefit in patients with melanoma. The goal of this article is to provide evidence-based consensus recommendations for the use of immunotherapy in the clinical management of patients with high-risk and advanced-stage melanoma in the USA. To achieve this goal, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer sponsored a panel of melanoma experts--including physicians, nurses, and patient advocates--to develop a consensus for the clinical application of tumour immunotherapy for patients with melanoma. The Institute of Medicine clinical practice guidelines were used as a basis for this consensus development. A systematic literature search was performed for high-impact studies in English between 1992 and 2012 and was supplemented as appropriate by the panel. This consensus report focuses on issues related to patient selection, toxicity management, clinical end points and sequencing or combination of therapy. The literature review and consensus panel voting and discussion were used to generate recommendations for the use of immunotherapy in patients with melanoma, and to assess and rate the strength of the supporting evidence. From the peer-reviewed literature the consensus panel identified a role for interferon-α2b, pegylated-interferon-α2b, interleukin-2 (IL-2) and ipilimumab in the clinical management of melanoma. Expert recommendations for how to incorporate these agents into the therapeutic approach to melanoma are provided in this consensus statement. Tumour immunotherapy is a useful therapeutic strategy in the management of patients with melanoma and evidence-based consensus recommendations for clinical integration are provided and will be updated as warranted.