Passports and Visas

Passports are an official identity document issued by each country of citizenship. All students must have a passport in order to participate in any education abroad program and it must be valid for at least 6 months past the end date of the study abroad program.

U.S. citizens can apply for a passport through the U.S. Department of State or a local post office (Capitol Station Post Office or Cameron Village Post Office). All students traveling outside of North America will need a passport book.

Passport Tips:

  • Students should sign their passports immediately upon receipt.
  • Students should keep photocopies of the identification pages as well as other important documents (immigration, acceptance letters, financial information, prescriptions) and keep them in a safe place. A copy should be left at home with a family member or close friend in the U.S. and another set with the student onsite.
  • Lost passports: Loss or theft of a US passport should be reported immediately to the Passport Services office at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC (202-955-0430) or to the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy in the host country, local police authorities, and on-site coordinator. The U.S. Department of State or local consulate will assist citizens in replacing lost passports.

Non-U.S. citizens:

  • Should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of their country of citizenship for information on acquiring or renewing a passport.
  • NC State international students need to contact the Office of International Services before studying abroad to ensure they can meet immigration requirements for return to the U.S.
  • Should also contact the embassy of the host country and any countries of planned travel to verify immigration or visa requirements.

Visas and Immigration Requirements:

A visa is an official document, endorsement, or stamp issued by the government of the host country that is placed by government officials on a U.S. passport that allows the bearer to visit that country. Some students will be required to obtain a visa, a few will be required to obtain a residency permit, and others may need no immigration verification. Immigration policies depend on the host country requirements.

  • It is the student’s responsibility to research and verify immigration requirements (visas, residency permits, etc.).
  • Immigration regulations vary widely, and processing may take from a few weeks to a few months to issue, depending on the country – start reviewing requirements right away!
  • The U.S. Department of State provides country specific information and links to foreign embassy or consulate sites.
  • Visa service agencies, though sometimes pricey, can assist with visa applications and often have expedited options. Though the Study Abroad Office does not endorse any agency, here are some other students have used in the past: A Briggs, China Visa Service CenterTravel Document SystemsTravisa.