Upon the decision to study abroad, students should apply for a passport. If a student already has a passport, they will need to confirm that the passport is valid for a minimum of six (6) months following the end of their program. For example, if their program ends at the end of a Spring semester, they should make sure their passport is valid through the end of December of that year. If it is necessary for a student to renew the passport, we suggest doing so as soon as possible, particularly if a visa is required for the student to study abroad. US Citizens can apply or renew their passports through the US Department of State. Prior to departure, students should make and leave a photocopy of the identification pages and visa pages to leave with a family member. We also advise parents or designated emergency contact to obtain or renew their passport, just in case they may need to go abroad to assist a student in case of an emergency.

Lost Passports | Students should report the loss or theft of a passport immediately to the nearest US consulate or embassy in their host country, local police, and their host university/program.


Depending on the program type, your child may need to obtain a visa, an immigration document granting permission to enter and stay in the country. Students should start making a visa checklist as soon as they have been accepted into a program in researching this process by accessing the consulate or embassy webpages for their host country. Visa processing times vary by country; however, there is often a limited window in which students may need to apply. In most cases, students cannot apply for a visa more than 90 days in advance of travel (may be different for non-US citizens). Before they can apply, they will need their host university acceptance materials, in addition to other required documents. Each country has its own requirements and application procedures and it is not uncommon for a visa application process to require an in-person interview at the nearest embassy (for most cases, this is Chicago), biometrics and background screenings, and proof of financial support.  General visa information will be provided to students in orientation programming; however, given the differences for each country and student status, Global Programs Coordinators are limited in their ability to offer visa guidance. Additional guidance on visa services is available on the student Passport/Visa page.

If a visa is necessary, students should plan to have their passports with them on-campus the semester prior to departure.  If your family is planning to travel internationally prior to departure, it is important to consider the visa application process for which your student is applying. The visa often comes as a sticker in the passport; therefore the student may need to submit their passport to the embassy/consulate to apply and it may be out of the student’s possession for several weeks.