Each traveler must have the appropriate, valid travel documents needed to cross international borders. It is the responsibility of each traveler to know which documents are needed, to obtain them, and present them to the appropriate authorities.
We encourage you to identify and obtain the needed documents as early as possible and certainly as soon as you know that you plan to travel.
Passport Every traveler needs a passport.
In general, it is highly recommended that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after you depart your host country abroad and that your passport have blank pages for visas and entry/exit stamps. However, each individual country has its own passport requirements for visitors, so you should check with the embassy or consulate of your destination to know the exact requirement.
Each participant in a JWU study abroad program needs to give a copy of the bio page of the participant's valid passport to the Study Abroad office.
If your passport is damaged, lost, or stolen while abroad, you should immediately contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the country that issued your passport.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you can get information for applying for or renewing a passport from the U.S. Department of State by following the passport link on our Resources page.
Citizens of other Nations
If outside of your country of citizenship, contact your local embassy or consulate to get details regarding passports. If inside your country of citizenship, contact the appropriate government office.
Visas and Residence Permits A visa is a permission document that is placed in your passport that allows you to enter and remain in a country for a specified duration of time for specific purposes (i.e. tourism, study, business, etc.). It is each traveler's responsibility to know if a visa is needed and, if so, to apply for and obtain the visa.
The only authority who can definitively tell you if you do or do not need a visa is the embassy or consulate of each country that you plan to visit. We have provided a link to the U.S. Department of State's list of known websites for foreign embassies inside the U.S on our Resources page.
Some countries may require you to get a residence permit instead of a visa or require you to get both. A residence permit is typically for those travelers who plan to remain in the country for a much longer duration of time. You should check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country to know the requirement.
Even if you do not need a visa prior to arriving, you should still expect to carry documents that you can present to the immigration official at the border that verify your reason for traveling to the country, your ability to support yourself, and your intentions to leave the country.
Study Abroad Office's Role
Our office will provide support through the visa application process by providing you with details of your program, producing verification letters, communicating with our partners regarding any needed documents from them, and being an advocate for our students.
Know that our ability to assist you is limited to the visa office's willingness to communicate with us. Some visa offices will only communicate with the visa applicant.
Tips for Interacting with Embassies and Consulates
When communicating with a foreign embassy or consulate, be polite, respectful, and professional. Know that they grant visas at their own discretion. You are asking them for permission to enter their country, and they are evaluating whether you are suitable to enter their country. Represent yourself well.
Know the details of your study abroad program:
Your personal details (i.e. citizenship and passport) and the details of your program will determine if you need a visa and which type of visa. For example, for many of our past summer programs, students were often considered "tourists" because the program was roughly 28 days, the academics were delivered by our faculty, and students were not registered as students at a host institute. Confirm with the embassy or consulate.
Historically, U.S. citizens have not needed visas to participate in many of our shorter-term programs due to the duration and nature of the programs and visa-exemption agreements with the U.S. However, for programs of longer duration or on which students have been registered at educational institutes abroad (such as exchange programs), U.S. citizens have needed visas and/or residence permits. Each traveler should check with the appropriate embassy or consulate to confirm, as visa policies for each country are subject to change.
Whether or not you need a visa depends on your personal details and the details of your study abroad program. Furthermore, embassies and consulates may charge different fees or have different application requirements for students of different nationalities.
If you apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate in the USA, know that each visa office will want to know your legal status in the USA. For example, F-1 students will need to show their F-1 visas and their I-20s. Know that, if your F-1 is expired when you apply for the visa, you will probably need to explain to the visa office the regulations regarding F-1 visas and valid I-20s. Also, know that, historically, some consulates (e.g. Spain) require that, if you are applying in the USA, your F-1 visa be valid for at least 3 months after you plan to depart their countries.
Plan your visa application and travels appropriately, knowing the following:
International students are also encouraged to review the information on our International Students page.