Start the passport and visa application early and look into the specific requirements for students traveling abroad.
All students will need a valid passport in order to travel abroad. Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the date you will return to the U.S. For example, if your program ends in June, your passport should be valid through at least December of the same year.
If you are a U.S. citizen and need a new passport, visit the State Department's international travel page and follow the instructions to obtain a new passport. If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact your home country's consulate or embassy about renewing or obtaining a new passport.
In addition to showing your passport at immigration control, many countries require visitors to obtain a visa before entering the country. It is usually in the form of a stamp or sticker in your passport. Each country has its own requirements and visa application procedures for foreign visitors. As a result, the Study Abroad Office is not able to provide comprehensive assistance with visa application procedures.
You are fully responsible for informing yourself about and following through with the visa application process.
You should either work directly with your host country's embassy or consulate, or seek the services of a visa agency. If you plan to visit other countries before, during, or after your study abroad program, you will also want to look into their visa requirements.
Below are a few resources to get you started on obtaining your visa:
- The U.S. Department of State website for students, specifically for passports and visas
- The U.S. State Department's Country Specific Information
- The websites of foreign countries and embassies in the U.S.
- Your host country's consulate in Chicago
- A visa agency, such as A Briggs, China Visa Service Center (for China visas), de Prey Consulting (for UK visas), Passport Visa Express, Perry International, Travisa, TDS, and VisaHQ
Additional Supporting Documents
Besides your passport and visa, you may need to provide additional documents for entry into certain countries. Examples of these additional documents include, but are not limited to:
- Your letter of acceptance from your host university
- Proof of departure, usually in the form of a return flight
- Proof of sufficient finances for the time you will be abroad
- Proof of insurance
Please refer to the acceptance packet from your host university or study abroad program for details.
If you are not a U.S. citizen and need to return to the U.S. to continue your studies after studying abroad, please make sure that you pack and carry all necessary documents and authorizations to re-enter the U.S. after your program ends. For more information, please email the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.