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Passports and Visas

Passports are issued by the U.S. Department of State (or its equivalent for non-U.S. students) and serve as the authorization and identification for a citizen to travel outside of the country. Passports are required for all students who are traveling abroad. If you already have a passport, check the expiration date to make sure it is valid for at least six months after planned return to the United States, or make arrangements to renew it. Detailed instructions on how to apply for or renew a passport can be found here.  It is very important to make and keep passport copies. You should leave one copy with your family, one with the Office of International Education and one separate from the original with you while traveling.

A visa is an endorsement or stamp placed in the passport by officials of a foreign country in order to allow entrance into the country for a specified time period. Each country has different entry requirements and these may change without notice. Consult the embassy or consulate web site of your host country for the most up-to-date information. The visa application process can be time consuming and confusing. It is essential that you begin the application process as early as possible and seek assistance from peer advisors and education abroad advisors if needed. Failure to do so may result in long delays, ineligibility to enroll in courses, or even denial of entry into the host country. In order to receive a visa, students usually need to send or hand-deliver their original passport to the host country’s consulate. Therefore, you should not plan on being out of the country until the visa process is complete. If vacation has already been planned, you should be aware of visa processing time and plan accordingly.