Passports serve as an official identification while traveling to show proof of U.S. citizenship. Passports are also needed before leaving and entering almost every country. You will need to have a passport to leave and return to the United States. You can find information about applying for or renewing a passport on the U.S. State Department Consular Affairs website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html. The application process takes about 6 weeks on average after the application has been submitted; however, we have seen it take just over 2 months, so students should apply for their passport when they apply for the program, if not earlier.
A visa is a legal document granted by a foreign consulate that gives permission for the student to study and live in the foreign country. Most summer program participants do not need a visa, but there are a few exceptions. As a general rule, semester students require a visa. The study abroad office can help students find out if they need a visa and direct them to resources, such as the consulate of their host country abroad. The study abroad office will offer some assistance; however, it is the student's responsibility to obtain their visa. Students should contact the consulate directly to confirm they are aware of all requirements. Students typically work on their visa after they are accepted to the program, as they will need to provide documents from the host institution to obtain the visa. Some countries require students to have a visa in‐person interview at the consulate, which may mean a trip to Washington, D.C., Houston, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, etc. For countries that require this, you will want to budget the cost of this domestic trip in your total program price. While visa applications can be a lot of work depending on the country, the sense of excitement and accomplishment felt by students after receiving their visas further prepares students for their study abroad experience.