Passports and Visas
Each country has specific requirements for entry depending on the length of a student’s stay and the purpose of their visit. It is important that students prepare ample time researching the entry requirements of their host country to ensure they may acquire the necessary documentation.
Passports for U.S. Citizens
A U.S. Passport is a documented by the U.S. Department of State that proves an individual’s identity and nationality as a citizen of the United States.
- Every U.S. citizen needs a valid passport to study abroad – your passport needs to be valid at least 6 months after your travel date when you re-enter the United States.
- Passports allow U.S. citizens to travel to foreign countries, have access to local protection, and to receive assistance from the U.S. Embassy within their host country in case of an emergency.
- First time applicants should refer to the U.S. Department of State’s directions for applying for a passport. Applicants will need to apply in person using Form DS-11 and provide necessary proof of citizenship and identification, as well as payment for fees.
- Individuals that need to renew their passport should refer to the U.S. Department of State’s directions for renewing a passport. If you have an undamaged passport within your possession, you are able to renew it by mail.
- A U.S. passport can take 8-11 weeks to be mailed from the date the application/renewal process, so consider starting this process as soon as possible. Expediting your passport processing costs an extra $60 and takes about 5-7 weeks to complete.
Visas for U.S. Citizens
A visa is an immigration document issued by the government from a consulate general or embassy, permitting a student to legally study in a certain country during a certain period. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State’s Country Information site to check visa requirements and get in contact with the appropriate embassy.
- Visas are usually an endorsement stamped or placed as a sticker within an individual’s passport, rather than a separate document.
- Students must find a consulate office or embassy operated by their host country within the United States to submit their application to. Each country determines the application process and requirements for acquiring a visa.
- Many consulates require individuals to submit their application in person, so be prepared to travel. The fee for a visa differs by country, mainly paid to the consulate, which sets these fees.
- Students should keep in mind the program start date, the application window, and the visa processing time, which may take 8 weeks or more.
- Do not attempt to travel outside of the United States until you know the date of your visa appointment and confirm the processing time with the Consulate.
Considerations for Non-U.S. Citizens
Non-U.S. citizens must follow the rules of their country of citizenship regarding international travel. They are responsible for having a valid passport from their country of citizenship and for researching the visa entry requirements for their host country of interest.
You must check with the Office of International Programs to ensure that your study abroad plans will not affect your status as a student within the United States. International students are responsible for their immigration papers and for confirming they will be able to re-enter the U.S. after their study abroad program ends.
If you have a non-U.S. passport and your host country requires a visa to enter, you can apply and obtain the visa in the United States because you are studying within the country.
Students who are Green-Card holders cannot travel solely with their “green card.” If you are a Green-Card holder, you must have a valid “green card” with you when you return to the United States, as well as a valid passport from your country of citizenship. You may also use a re-entry permit or refugee travel document alongside your “green card,” which may you apply for using the I-131 Form from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).