Before you can go anywhere abroad, you have to obtain the proper documentation. Every U.S. Citizen traveling to another country is required to apply and carry a passport with them. Depending on where you are going and how long you are staying, you may also need to obtain a visa or other types of documentation.
A passport is a travel document that verifies your identity and nationality, and it is recognized internationally. Once you apply, it can take up to 3 months to receive your passport. So, APPLY EARLY! You cannot travel anywhere outside of the United States without a valid passport.
A visa is a travel document that is issued by the host country, verifying that you are allowed to visit. You may or may not need a visa, but that depends on your destination country and the length of your study abroad program.
- Every country has different visa requirements and application processes, so research your destination country through the U.S. Department of State’s Country Specific Information. Specifically research entry/exit requirements.
- Apply for your visa at the nearest host country consulate. The host country consulate can also help address any questions about what type of documentation is required for your international experience.
- If you have questions about whether or not you need a visa or additional documentation, contact the UNK Study Abroad Office. While UNK Study Abroad will not complete the application process for you, it is a great resource if you have any questions.
- Leave a copy of important documents with family and/or a friend at home (passport, visa, airline tickets, driver’s license, credit cards, your contact information abroad, and emergency contact information abroad, etc…) Bring a set of copies to keep in your suitcase, too. That way if you have an emergency or lose something, you have copy to rely on.
- Apply for travel documentation EARLY! It can take up to 3 months to get your passport and visa.
- Investigate your country, and determine the safest way to carry your documentation while out-and-about. It is recommended to keep your documents and money locked in a safe if you do not have to carry them with you. However, if you do, make sure they are carried in a way that will not allow you to be pick-pocketed or for things to be easily lost.