Passports and Visas

Passports and Visas

Passports and Visas

U.S. PassportPassport

In order to travel abroad, you must hold a passport, specifically a passport book that will be valid for at least six months after the end of your proposed education abroad program. For information on how to apply for a passport, the requirements, the costs, and the estimated processing times, please visit the U.S. Department of State passport website: U.S. Passports (  Please remember that you will need a Passport Book, not the card, for international travel.

Passport General Information

For students applying for a United States Passport, it generally takes up to 18 weeks after your paperwork is turned in to receive your passport book. Applicants must provide proof of identity like a birth certificate, social security card, and a current government issued-ID to supplement the application. Additionally, applicants need to obtain and send acceptable passport photos with their application. Most local Walgreen's, Wal-Mart and packing and shipping companies can facilitate acceptable passport photos. Applicants need to turn in completed passport paperwork to a local Acceptance Facility. Acceptance facilities are usually post offices, clerk of court office and sometimes libraries. It is best to visit the local website for the facility to schedule an appointment or determine the hours in which passport applications are accepted. To locate a Passport Acceptance Facility, please visit: Where to Apply for a Passport Nationwide (

The cost for a passport varies depending on the type of shipping and if it is expedited or not. Generally passport costs can vary from $145 to $200. Students are encouraged to apply for their passport early. For the most up-to-date and accurate information on U.S. Passport Services including the application process, please visit the Department of State’s passport website at U.S. Passports (



A visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.  It is an official travel document that a foreign government issues and is usually in form of a stamp or large imaged sticker in your passport book.  Processing procedures for visas vary greatly from country to country (and from applicant to applicant), so it is important to verify the specific visa or permit you will need.  International Affairs does not process or issue visas, but will serve as a resource on visa requirements.  Students can also visit the provider website, country's embassy or consulate website, and visa service pages like CIBT or Travisa for complete  and accurate information. 

In order to apply for a visa, you must have a valid passport. Visa processing times vary and can range from several days to months depending on the country, the purpose of travel, and citizenship. If you are studying with a Program Provider (USAC, ISA, Semester at Sea, etc.) the Program Provider will also be able to help you with the process for your program.

International Travelers are encouraged to review the embassy or consulate webpage of countries for updated visa and travel requirements. Visas may be acquired directly from the consulate or from a visa service. Applying for a visa requires attention to detail when submitting the paperwork to prevent delays. Below are a few resources to get you started on obtaining your visa research: