Skip to content

Travel Documents

Passport
In order to study abroad, you must have a valid passport. You can begin your study abroad application without your passport, but are encouraged to begin the process to receive as soon as possible. Usually, the passport needs to be valid a minimum of 6 months beyond your planned return date from abroad, but in some cases, it might be longer, such as a year beyond your planned return date.  This can change based on the requirements of your host country. 

For U.S. citizens, regardless of whether you need a brand new passport, or if you are renewing an existing passport, follow the instructions on the State Department's website, travel.state.gov.  You will have to complete paperwork, get an official photo taken, pay a fee, and likely have an in-person appearance at a designated passport acceptance facility near you.

Routine processing time for obtaining or renewing a passport is 4-6 weeks, unless you pay an extra fee for expedited service, so don't wait too long to apply for your passport.  Also keep in mind that you may need to still apply for a visa for the country in which you will be studying.  You will need to have your valid passport in-hand before you can apply for the visa, so this is another reason to apply early for your passport or passport renewal.

Visa
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 and, usually, for a specific purpose. As a citizen of the United States, there are many countries which you can visit as a tourist without the need for a visa, but this may be different if you are planning to study or work in a foreign country. 

Visa requirements and application procedures vary by country. For the most up-to-date information, visit the embassy website of your country of choice.