A passport is internationally recognized proof of citizenship and identity. It contains the traveler’s personal information and is issued by the US Department of State. Everyone travelling across international borders is required to have a valid passport. Many countries also require passports to be valid until six months after your study abroad program ends. If you are in doubt or notice that your passport will expire before then, please renew it before travelling. Keep in mind that it takes four to six weeks for your passport to be issued or renewed, so please submit your application as soon as possible. Non-US passport holders need to contact their home country’s consulate or embassy in the United States to renew their passport.
A visa grants you permission to live and study in a foreign country for a certain period of time. It is usually issued by a consulate or the embassy of the country in which you wish to study abroad. Visa requirements and the application process vary greatly from country to country. Typically, a visa is required for programs lasting longer than 90 days, but there are a few countries that require visas even for short-term programs. It is crucial that you become familiar with the visa regulations of your host country as soon as possible. Contact your study abroad advisor in case you are unsure. Applying for and obtaining a visa is always your responsibility! Do not make international travel plans while your visa application is being processed – you will need to submit your passport along with the other application materials and it may take several weeks for a consulate to return your passport with the visa in it.