Passports, Documents, and Visas
- first page of your passport
- the page with the visa for your host country;
- the numbers of your credit, ATM cards, and bank accounts
- any insurance card numbers
- prescriptionsKeep one set on file with the Center for International Education.
- Keep one set in a separate location while traveling independently (e.g. in backpack or luggage)
- Keep a copy on your phone--but not only on your phone as it might be lost at the same time as your passport.
- Leave a set at home with family.
- If you lose your passport, immediately contact the State Department. Instructions are found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/lost-stolen.html
The State Department of the United States requires that the sex listed on your passport match that of your visa application. The government of your host country will also require this. If you plan to legally change your sex before you leave the country, please think about the time required to get through the entire process of courthouse, state, new passport and obtaining a visa. This may not be the right time to do it. OR, consider applying for a spring semester placement instead of a fall placement and start now with all of the paperwork.
If you do not have a passport, you should apply for one immediately. It takes 4-6 weeks to process your application. A US citizen can apply at the nearest Passport Agency of the US Department of State or at most post offices. The U.S. Department of State maintains a website at http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html that provides instructions on how to obtain a passport, and a printable application can be found at here. Students can also call the government hotline at The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) 1-877-487-2778 for this information. Passports are mailed to the applicant two to four weeks after the application is received and are valid for ten years.You will need to present the following documents:
- Application Form
- 1 Passport-sized photo (can be taken at the CIE 2 for $10, AAA, Rite Aid, and the Huntingdon Post Office)
- Birth Certificate (Must be original copy with raised seal and parent(s) names. They will not take photocopies.)
- Photo ID (Driver's License, State ID, Military ID, etc.)
- Photocopy of ID
- $110 Application Fee (check made out to Department of State)
- $25 (Check made out to the processing agency)
You must have a valid passport in order to apply for a visa. Note that many countries require that your passport be valid at least six months past your intended stay in that country. In other words, if you intend to study abroad in the spring semester (January-May), your passport should be valid at least through November of that year.
Important Points to Consider when Applying for your Visa
Visa application requirements and processes can vary greatly from country to country, and even from Consulate to Consulate. The process can be time-consuming and complicated and we provide the following tips to help you know what to (possibly) expect as you begin the process.
- When applying for a visa, you are dealing with the government of a foreign country. They can make and change their policies and procedures at any time.
- We are not agents of foreign countries, so our ability to help you fill out visa applications is extremely limited. It is always best to get answers directly from a Consulate employee.
- Read very carefully the application and instructions before contacting a Consulate. This will enable you to ask appropriate and informed questions.
- If you download visa application materials from a website, call the Consulate to be sure that it is the most recent version (unless the website states that it is).
- Consulates generally have very limited open hours both for answering the telephone and for public appearances.
- When you speak with someone in a Consulate write a detailed record of the conversation: date, time, full name of person with whom you spoke, and their comments or answers or recommendations.
- Never assume that because your friend got a visa in one week, that you will, too.
- You may have to appear at a Consulate in person to submit your visa application materials. If this is a requirement, there is most likely no way to get around it. If the NY Consulate of Spain, for example, requires you to apply there, you must be prepared to drive, fly, or take a bus or train to NYC. We cannot ask them to eliminate this requirement for you.
- Some countries require transit visas for people to change planes at their airports -- particularly the Schengen countries in Europe. For more information, see: http://www.schengenvisa.cc/.
- Don't assume anything. If, for example, the visa application asks for your address while in [country], and you won't have that information until you arrive overseas, ask the consulate what to write in that space. Some may accept "TBA", some may accept the program address, some may not accept it without the actual address. We cannot guess how or what to answer for any question; neither should you.
- Again, requirements vary, but in general, you can expect to provide the following when applying for a student visa: demographic information about yourself and your parents, including dates and places of birth; your passport; your round-trip plane ticket to your study abroad country; certification of health and/or certain immunizations; letter of acceptance to your study abroad program and/or host institution; letter verifying that you are currently enrolled in a degree program in good standing; detailed financial support information, notarized, e.g., bank statements (family and self), financial aid sources, etc.; proof of health insurance coverage abroad.
- Don't be surprised if this is not all that is required! This is why it is absolutely essential that you determine your specific requirements very early on in the study abroad application process.
- Most of all, be patient and be prepared. The visa application process is normally the most daunting and time-consuming part of the study abroad process. Keep in mind the end result!
If you hold a passport from a country other than the United States (even if you are a lawful permanent resident of the US), the process for obtaining your visa may be more complicated or time consuming. Send a message to an International Education Advisor to ask if this will be a problem for you. You may need a visa for a country where a US citizen will not.
The Center for International Office's goal is to provide you with clear, accurate instruction on obtaining appropriate travel documentation. While we place the responsibility for obtaining the appropriate visa documentation on the student, we strive to be a comprehensive resource for you and will intervene, when necessary, to aid you in all aspects of the visa process. Please email an International Education Advisor with any questions.
Below you will find current visa requirements for individual countries: