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Passports & Visas

Passports

Apply for your passport as soon as possible.  Do not wait until you have finalized your study abroad plans or made travel arrangements. It can take 8-12 weeks or longer to receive your new passport and you will need to have a valid passport before applying for a visa, if required by your host country.  Plan Ahead!  

As soon as you receive your new passport, be sure to sign the first page.  Make copies of the photo page of your passport.  Submit a copy to the OIP and take extra copies with you abroad in case your passport is lost or stolen.  Keep the copies in a separate location from your original passport. If your passport is lost of stolen, notify the local authories and the U.S. emgassy immediately.

If you already have a passport, check the expiration date to make sure that it is valid for at lesat 2 months after you plan to return to the United States.  In addition, your passport should have at least 4 empty pages. 

Do not pack your passport in your checked luggage!

For detailed information about applying for or renewing a passport, visit the U.S. Department of State website. The Omaha Post Office has a 24 hour taped message providing basic information about passport applications at (402) 348-2574. To locate the the closest Post Office to submit your passport, visit the USPS website.


Visas

A visa is a stamp placed by the officials of a foreign country in your passport allowing you to visit that country.  To find out if you need a visa for your travels and how to apply, go to  Foriegn Entry Requirements on the U.S. Department of State website.

You must have a valid passport in order to apply for a visa. If applying by mail, you will likely need to mail your original passport to the consulate along with the visa application. If you need a visa to enter the country where you will be studying, you should begin the application process as soon as possible. It may take 90 days or longer to receive a visa. 

It is your responsibility to obtain a visa, if required, from the embassy or nearest consulate of the country you are planning to visit.  Some consulates allow you to apply for a visa by mail, while other consulates require you to apply and/or pick up your visa in person.  Processing and visa fees vary, and most fees are not refundable.    Most consulates are located in major cities.  You may be required to obtain visas from the consular office in the area of your residence.

If you do not receive your visa by your departure date, DO NOT depart the United States.Make sure to plan accordingly so that you are able to obtain your passport and visa (if needed) prior to your scheduled departure date.   If you do not receive your visa by your intended departure date, notify the airline, the Study Abroad Coordinator, and your program sponsor that you have not received your visa.  You may need to change your scheduled departure date and plan for a late arrival. 

Do not assume that you do not need a visa.  Do not make assumptions that you do not need a visa, even if you have visited the country without a visa in the past.  There are different visa requirements depending on your reason for entering the country (tourist, study, work, etc).  If you are going abroad for any amount of time, it is extremely important that you check the U.S. State Department's website for foriegn entry requirements of the country that you plan to visit.