Passport + Visa InformationPassport
U.S. and non U.S. citizens now need a passport to enter all other countries. If you already have a passport, make sure it is valid. New passports take up to eight weeks for processing. Apply early to avoid complications caused by misplaced birth certificates and similar problems. See http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english.html for detailed information.
A visa is an entry/residency permit and official permission granted by the authorities of the countries where you will study or travel, which allows you to enter and remain in that country. The visa itself is frequently a stamp in your passport, not a separate document.
Since you will need a passport before applying for a visa and the passport and visa process may take several months, start early. If you are a U.S. citizen (carrying a U.S. passport) a visa is not required by most Western European countries if you are spending less than three months in the country visited. If you are staying longer than 90 days in any country, you must obtain the appropriate visa according to that country's laws. The cost and requirements of obtaining visas vary.
It is your responsibility to inquire about visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad; this includes countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program.
Additionally, you may wish to check the following entry requirements/visa Web sites regarding up-to-date visa and entry requirements:
- United States Bureau of Consular affairs: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange.html
- Travel Document Systems: www.traveldocs.com