Passport & Visa Information


If you are traveling abroad you are required to have a valid passport. If you don’t already have a valid passport, you should apply for one as soon as you decide to participate in a global program. This process can take anywhere from several weeks to several months.

If you already have a passport, be sure to check the expiration date; countries often require your passport to be valid for several months after the completion of your program. Requirements for passport validity lengths vary by country and citizenship, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your passport is valid for the appropriate period of time.

US passport held in front of world map.


You may need a visa to participate in a global program. If you need a visa for your program, you should apply as soon as possible. Please be advised that visa application procedures and required supporting documentation can vary greatly between consulates and can often depend on the citizenship of the applicant.

Please contact the Global Experience Advisor for your program to find out if you require a visa. While GEO can help you navigate your visa process, GEO does not process or issue visas for students. It is your responsibility to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa in a timely manner.

Panoramic view of stone stadium with flags.

Passport and Visa FAQ

US Citizens: When applying for a passport for the first time, you have to submit your application in person. Everything you need to know about U.S. passports (how to apply, how to expedite a passport application, and how to renew your passport) is on the following website: U.S. Passports and International Travel.

International Students: Please consult directly with your home country passport processing agency for further information on the procedure for renewing a passport.

Information on visa requirements for most study abroad programs can often be found through the relevant consular website, and through the university or program where you are intending to study while abroad. Contact your Global Experience Advisor if you need additional support.

Typically, your Global Experience Advisor is able to provide support and guidance as to the appropriate visa category for your global experience.

Many consulates will require you to appear in person in order to process your visa application. Please consult with the relevant consulate to confirm if you are required to either submit your application or retrieve your visa in person. If you are required to attend an appointment in person, it is imperative that you book a date and time as soon as possible.

You should book the earliest available appointment. Consular appointments are quite fluid and at the discretion of the consular authority. If you are unable to obtain an appointment that is suitable for your time frame, you may need to check the consular booking system site multiple times to obtain an alternate appointment.

Many embassies, consulates, and missions have jurisdictional requirements for visa applications and only serve residents of their jurisdictions. Please ensure that you are applying for your visa through the consulate, embassy, or mission that serves the jurisdiction where you maintain residency during the academic year.

The cost of applying for a visa can vary based on country, citizenship, and visa type. Please consult with the relevant consulate directly for up-to-date information on costs.

You should apply as early as possible, as processing times can vary. GEO recommends beginning the visa process 8-12 weeks prior to your intended departure, though occasionally, obtaining a visa can take longer.

Please check the application processing time frames on the appropriate consular website very carefully. Processing times are at the sole discretion of the consulate, and can vary greatly. Time frames indicated on consular websites may not include the time it takes you to gather supporting documentation, book an appointment, or return your documents at the completion of processing.

The procedures that you will follow may be different from those for U.S. citizens. Please consult directly with your Global Experience Advisor and the appropriate consulate for further guidance. It is important to initiate the visa process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy processing procedures. Additionally, it is your responsibility to check with the Office of Global Services prior to departing for your international program for any information relating to your visa status in the U.S.

If you are an international student, consulates and embassies may require that your F-1 visa be valid for a period of time past your date of departure from your host country when applying for a visa. Please ensure that your F-1 visa is valid for at least 6 months past the end date of your program abroad. Please consult directly with the relevant consulate or embassy for further information on these requirements. It is the responsibility of any international student to check with the Office of Global Services prior to departing for their international program for any information relating to their visa status in the U.S. and information related to re-entry at the close of your program abroad.

It can take up to 16 weeks to obtain this clearance, so begin this process as soon as possible. For information on the FBI background check process, please consult with the FBI Identity Summary website directly.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents may want to consider utilizing a channeler to expedite the process. Further information on using a channeler can be found on the FBI Approved Channeler List. Please note that use of a channeler may incur a fee, payable directly to the channeler; you should consult directly with the channeler for pricing and timeframe information.

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