Resources

Passports & Visas

What are passport photos and where can I get them?

Passport photos are a style of photograph with specifications regarding the size of the photo, what sort of head and facial clothing is permitted, a particular background color, and other specifications. Do not try to take or print passport photos yourself, as the regulations regarding these photos are specific and strict. Although these specifications are often standard, some countries publish a list of their specifications in a list of visa application requirements. There are many places where you can get passport photos: Walgreens, CVS, post offices, etc.

UConn Education Abroad now takes passport photos! Open to everyone.

$10 for 2 photos/$20 for 6 photos

Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm

Rowe CUE 117

How and where do I apply for a passport?

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 get a rushed passport, how to renew your passport) is on this website.

If your passport was lost or stolen and you are departing imminently or if you need your passport to apply for a visa within two weeks, you may call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to schedule an appointment to apply in person at a Passport Agency.

Why do I need my passport before I can apply for my student visa?

In most cases the visa will be stamped inside your passport. Most consulates require you to submit your passport along with your visa application. If you don’t already have a valid passport you should apply for one as soon as you decide to study abroad, even before you apply for your program. This process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the time of year when you apply.

If you already have a passport, check the expiration date. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months after your program ends.

What is a visa?

A visa is official permission granted by the authorities of the countries where you will study or travel, which allow you to enter and remain in that country. The visa is your entry or residency permit which usually appears as a stamp in your passport. Most students going on programs for 90 days or longer need a visa; some programs of shorter duration also need visas.

How do I know if I need a student visa?

It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad, including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. For information on entry requirements for a specific country, please go to the Entry/Exit Requirements section in the Country Specific Information pages on the U.S. Department of State Website.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen, please visit this page on the Travisa website to determine whether or not you need a visa.

Where do I find information about student visa requirements that apply to me?

After you have checked out the information in the Entry/Exit Requirements section using the website given above, you should then determine which consulate you should use to apply for your student visa. In most cases you will apply to the regional consulate in the United States for your host country that has jurisdiction over your home state. Note that in some instances regional consulates will also accept visa applications from students who are going to school in a state under their jurisdiction, even if their state of permanent residence falls outside their jurisdiction.

Do all consulates for the same country have the same student visa requirements?

No. Student visa requirements for the same country can vary significantly from one consulate to another. Be sure to use only the visa requirements for the consulate under whose jurisdiction you fall.

Can I obtain information about visa requirements from the consulate website?

Even though many consulates post student visa requirements on their website, we recommend that you contact the consulate directly to request the visa instructions in writing. Some consulates do not have the most up-to-date instructions on their websites, so you should only use instructions that you have obtained from the consulate directly.

What is the best way to contact the consulate?

Many students and parents report being frustrated in their repeated and unsuccessful attempts to reach a consular official. One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes consulates are understaffed; possibly they are a one-person office. It is important to remain considerate and polite, even when feeling frustrated. We recommend communicating with the consulate in several ways. Usually consulates have limited hours when they answer the phone. If phone calls don’t go through, you can try emailing, sending a fax, or visiting in person if you live in the area. If you visit in person, see if an appointment is required. Usually one of these is the preferred method of communication. Allow several days or more for a response.

Do I need to apply for my student visa in person?

This requirement varies from consulate to consulate. Some consulates accept visa applications by mail, while more and more consulates are now requiring students to submit visa applications in person or to pick them up in person (or both). Some program providers have obtained permission from consulates to do batch processing of visa applications where they will collect your visa application and submit it on your behalf, but this is not common. If your program is able to provide this service they will let you know once you have been accepted into your program.

What if I am not a U.S. citizen?

If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements.

The procedures that you will follow may be different from those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen, please visit this page on the Travisa website to determine whether or not you need a visa.

How much does it cost to apply for a student visa?

The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. We have seen costs ranging from zero to over $500 to apply.

When should I apply for my visa?

This is a very important question, especially for students going on spring programs when there is a narrow window of time between applying for a program in the fall and the deadline to apply for a student visa. Check the application timeframe on the consulate website very carefully. Usually consulates have a beginning and ending date during which they will accept visa applications. (For example, they might accept visa applications between 30-90 days before your scheduled departure.) Apply as early as possible. This means you should start gathering the required supporting documents well in advance so that you have everything ready to go when the consulate will first start accepting visa applications.

What types of supporting documents might be required for my student visa application?

These requirements vary widely. Check the consulate’s instructions early in the process so you will know what you need to do, and what documents you will need to request from outside sources. It could take some time for you to gather all of these documents. Here are some examples of the types of supporting documents consulates have been known to ask for:

  • Official letter of acceptance from your home university and/or from your program provider.
  • Official letter of acceptance from an institution in the country where you will be studying.
  • Certified check or mail order check for the visa fee.
  • Proof of required health insurance.

What if the consulate requires proof of my travel itinerary?

Pay attention to the details of this requirement. Do they require that you have a round trip ticket? Will they accept a copy of your itinerary from your travel agent? If you are taking a group flight, will they accept a letter from your home university or program provider indicating this, or do they need an actual itinerary? Do they require that you have a return flight within a certain period after your program ends? If they ask for a round-trip ticket you will need to purchase one, even though you might not know exactly when you will be returning home. Students usually buy the return ticket, verifying with their travel agent that they can change the return date later. There is usually a penalty fee associated with changing the travel dates (and the penalty could apply to each leg of the flight, including any domestic flights within the U.S.) Some travel agencies or organizations offer differing change fee options, so we recommend that you research several options before booking your flight.

What if I am studying in one country for one term, and a different country for the following term? Can I apply for both visas at the same time?

This scenario can present a real challenge for you. It applies to students going to one country in the fall and then to another country in the spring, or combining a term with the summer in another country. Check to see if you will need to apply for a visa for each country. It is highly unlikely that you can apply for both visas at the same time. You will first obtain your visa for the country where you will be studying for the first term. If you need a visa for the country the following term, verify the window of time during which you can apply for your visa. The most likely scenario is that you will not have an adequate amount of time to apply for and receive your second visa. Some countries will allow you to apply for your second visa from the country where you are studying in the fall. It is more likely that you will need to return to the U.S. to apply for your visa. Remember that consulates will keep your passport while they process your visa application, some for an extended period of time (for example 4-6 weeks). For these reasons, studying on back-to-back programs in different countries is becoming more and more difficult for students.

What if I want to work, do an internship, or do a service learning project?

If you plan to work while you are studying, you could be subject to different or additional visa requirements. Check to see if your student visa allows you to work (usually not the case). Even if it is allowed you might be required to obtain a special stamp from the immigration authorities upon entering the country. The hours you are allowed to work could be limited. If you plan to do an internship (paid or unpaid) or service learning on your program, check with your program provider to see how this will impact visa requirements. Will you need additional paperwork documenting the nature and hours of your internship or service learning project? Will you need a special visa?

What happens if I don’t obtain my student visa(s) that are required?

You may be denied entry into, or be deported from, a country for which you have not obtained a required visa. UConn is not responsible for obtaining visas nor are they in any way responsible for visa denial.

If your host country requires a visa and you don’t obtain one, you won’t be able to study on your study abroad program.

Do I have a right to a student visa?

Receiving a student visa is a privilege, not a right, and is a decision that is made entirely at the discretion of the issuing country. It has been rare in our recent experience that our students have been denied visas, but it can happen.