Apply for a passport right away; many participants will need to have passports in hand several months in advance of travel in order to secure required visa or residency permits. Pick up an application on the IUB campus at the post office at 520 S. Walnut Street in Bloomington, at a county clerk's office, or download it from Travel.State.Gov. You will be instructed to submit the completed application with two recent photos, a certified copy of your birth certificate, another ID with photo and a signature (such as your driver's license), and $145.
Routine processing times vary, but can take up to 4 months at peak times. It will be valid for 10 years.
You can check the status of your passport application online.
Make two photocopies of the passport page that has your name on it. Leave one copy with your family when you go abroad and take the other with you. The copy will make it much easier for you to replace your passport if it should be lost or stolen.
Visa and Residency Permit
A visa is an authorization, usually a stamp in your passport, that permits you to travel into or reside in another country for a stated period of time. The visa is issued by the country's consulate in the United States. Preparing and filing an application can be complicated, costly and time-consuming.
Student visas are required for almost all programs. If your program requires a visa, you will receive visa application instructions and supporting documentation. You should review these materials as soon as you receive them and proceed as advised immediately.
The application process for some visas will require that applicants obtain supporting materails from other agencies, possibly including translated and/or notarized copies of official documents such as birth certificates, high school diplomas and official transcripts, and may require submission well in advance of travel dates. Some applications must be submitted in person which may require additional cost/travel to Consulates in Chicago, Detroit or elsewhere.
If you plan to leave the U.S. well in advance of the time the program begins contact Overseas Study or your program provider as early as possible. Early processing of visa applications may be complicated or, in some situations, not possible at all. Consulates process visa applications according to the start date of the study abroad program and not according to personal travel plans.
Visas are granted at the discretion of the Consulate and may be denied for ANY reason including inadequate documention, pending legal action, past criminal history, etc.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you are responsible for contacting the embassy of the country where you will study to determine its entry and visa requirements for citizens of your country. You are also responsible for arranging to remain in compliance with U.S. immigration regulations regarding an extended stay abroad and re-entry into this country. International students should consult with the Office of International Services before studying abroad.
Students on all programs will receive assistance at the program site in arranging official student or nonresident status.
IU has negotiated discounted fees for expediting services for passports and visas; see information on the special CIBTvisas webpage.