It is important that you know what visa requirements will apply to you so that you can prepare for this well in advance. Many consulates, for instance, now require that students appear in person to apply for their visa. Some students even take these visa requirements into consideration when choosing the country where they want to go when spending a summer, semester, or year abroad.
If you need a student visa, applying for it can be an involved process that requires your careful attention. You should begin to do research about the student visa requirements for the country or countries you will be visiting and living in even before you know you have been accepted to your program. Gathering the required documentation for your student visa can take as much or more time than your study abroad application itself.
Passports Are the First Step in International Travel and Applying for Entry!
In order to apply for entry into another country, you must have a passport in your possession which is valid for up to 12 months past your return date. If you do not currently have a passport with this validity, you should apply for a new passport immediately. Regular passport processing times are typically 4-6 weeks. Please see http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html for more details.
Expedited passport services are available for an additional fee. General expedited services take 2-3 weeks door-to-door. However, there are faster expediting services if you are traveling within 14 days or need a passport to secure your visa within four weeks. You can find more information on passport expediting here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/processing/processing_1740.html.
Applying for an Entry Visa Is an Independent Process
Study Abroad Programs, the Office of International Education, and the University of Colorado at Boulder are not responsible for obtaining student visas nor are they in any way responsible for visa complications, delays, or visa denials. Unfortunately, the University of Colorado does not have the ability to change visa requirements, nor does it help if we call consulates or embassies on your behalf. Though we're happy to help you in whatever way we can, the decision to issue you a visa rests solely with the consulate or embassy.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS CAN CHANGE AT ANY TIME. We advise that you pay close attention to consular updates, as you are responsible for knowing and addressing the requirements for your host country and study abroad program. ALL STUDENTS MUST OBTAIN A VISA if required of their host country to participate in their program. Failure to obtain a visa will result in you not attending the program.
Independent Travel Prior to the Start of Study Abroad Programs
Please be aware that the visa application process for some countries may require students to surrender their passport for several weeks or months prior to the start of the study abroad program. These consular requirements may impact students' independent travel plans. Visa requirements should be investigated and considered by all applicants prior to planning independent travel (including travel over breaks or arriving early to your program site). All students are required to be in possession of the proper visa documentation in order to participate in our program.
Country-specific visa instructions and resources are available via your MyCUAbroad checklist once you have been accepted into a study abroad program. We recommend becoming familiar with the general process well in advance. To familiarize yourself with visa requirements, refer to your host country’s embassy web page. You can find your host country’s embassy webpage through the U.S. Department of State’s webpage: http://travel.state.gov/visa/americans/americans_1252.html. The U.S. Department of State also maintains information on non-student (i.e. tourist or business) entry/exit requirements in the "Country-Specific Information" section of the above link. You should ALWAYS refer to the visa instructions on your host country’s embassy webpage.
If you have questions concerning whether a particular program requires an entry visa for planning purposes (such as for multiple study abroad programs), please contact Jeanne Marion-Damgaard, Study Abroad Visa Resource Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.