First Step to Going Abroad: Visas!

Passport, check. Visa . . .?

Passport, check. Visa . . .?

Wow time flies.  It’s nearly May and my friends and cousins are slowly trickling back from College.  Where did the semester go?  Summer study abroad programs are rapidly approaching their start dates and there is still a ton to do.  You’re accepted into the program, you’ve picked your classes and you’ve been talking to your program coordinators, but what’s the next step? Visas!  Getting a Visa for your destination is a task best done as early as you can.  Some countries have a simple and quick process, and some countries make you jump through a series of multi-colored hoops.  Everything is manageable as long as you get started now.  The longer you wait, the more hectic the process will be.

A few tips below to give you a quick primer:

  • Start your Visa process early.  Sometimes you’ll be required to leave your passport with the consulate for a week or more before they issue a Visa to you.  The earlier you start, the easier and less nerve-wracking this will be.
  • Most countries require that a few items accompany your application.  They will want to see the following: your passport, a loose color passport photo, a Visa application, a Visa fee, proof of acceptance to a study abroad program (normally a university enrollment letter), and proof that you have enough funds to live in the country.  Every country is different though so check with the consulate in case you need to bring more materials.
  • Depending on the duration of your stay, you might have to apply for a different kind of Visa.  In the UK for example, if you study for less than 6 months, you need a Student Visitor Pass.  Trips of longer than 6 months require the Student Entry Clearance Visa.  Other countries have similar distinctions so check ahead of time to figure out which you’ll need.
  • Make sure your passport has at least one full blank page for the Visa.  Two is preferable.  While some countries have smaller visa inserts, countries like China require an entire page to be dedicated to their Visa.  If you don’t have enough room, a US passport office can add additional pages to your passport.
  • Similarly, make sure that your passport will remain valid for at least 6 months after your departure.  Every country has their own passport validity rules – sometimes they require 3 months, sometimes 6.  Be very careful to check the specifics of the expiration window.  It may be 6 months from your date of entry or 6 months from your date of departure.
Visa . . . check!

Visa . . . check!

Getting a Visa can be tricky, but if you do your homework and allocate enough time, you should be able to apply with plenty of time to spare.  Remember, your summer departure date is fast approaching, so get started soon!

1 Response to “First Step to Going Abroad: Visas!”


  1. 1 KeHoeff May 28, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    hey this is a very interesting article!


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Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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