General Passport Information


When planning a study abroad trip, you must be prepared to help students determine what is needed to travel. Remember,while you may understand the process and appropriate documents to acquire before your travel, many students may not know. One of the essential documents needed to travel is the passport. Because of the length of time it takes to obtain a passport, you will need to have your students start this process early.The specifics of this information actually may be handled by your Study Abroad Office. Even so, thisgeneral information on passports will be helpful in your planning.

Passport vs. Visa

A passport is the document your government provides to prove your identity and nationality. You will need and must carry your passport for almost all international travel. The passport permits you to travel or temporarily reside in a foreign territory, to have access to the U. S. Consular Services while you are traveling abroad, and to re-enter the U.S. upon the completion of your travel. AVisa is an official document that is contained in your passport. This document is issued to you by a foreign government and allows you to travel to, from and within their country.

Passport – Basic Information For Instructors

When planning a study abroad trip, remember:

  1. The U. S. Department of State Passport Website ( has great information on passports, visas, travel restrictions, etc.
  2. It is up to you, the instructor, to determine what is needed for your study abroad trip based on your travel plans.
  3. You must make sure you and your students have all the required documents needed before, during and after your travel.
  4. You must make sure your students fully understand that not having the required documents could jeopardize their eligibility to travel.
  5. To help with this, you should have some type of clause (or check with your university’s Study Abroad Office to see if they have a clause) that explains what will happen should the student fail to provide all the required documents.
  6. The instructor must determine if the country(ies) they plan to visit require a valid passport and/or visa. However, most study abroad programs that last less than 90 days usually do not require a separate study visa.
  7. To determine whether a visa is needed to study abroad in a country, you should check the U.S. Department of State Travel website (

Student F.A.Q. about Passports

How do I know if I need a passport?
The U. S. Department of State website gives valuable information to help answer this question.
How and where do I apply for a passport?
Students must apply in person to a U. S. post office that is authorized to accept passport applications; a passport agency, or county or superior court.
How much does it cost?
Fees can be found at State Department website (
When should I apply for a passport?
Applying for a passport is a lengthy process. Students need to apply at least three months in advance of the travel. Once students have all of the information in, the actual processing time for a routine passport is usually four to six weeks.
What might cause a passport application to be denied?
One of the most common reasons passport applications are denied is due students not having all the required information for proof of citizenship. So, it really does help to be prepared by making sure you have all the required information before going to get a passport. (See Student Passport Information Sheet.)
Where can I get a passport photo?
Passport photos can be taken at the post office where you apply for your passport. However, many people will have their photos taken atKinkos or other Copier Companies, Office Max and Office Depots, or local drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc. You can always Google for businesses that take passport pictures in your local area.
Other frequently asked questions and the answers are found at the Department of State website :
FAQ Site:

Student Passport Information Sheet

Before going to get a passport, make sure you have the following:

  1. Proof of Citizenship
    1. Previous passport
    2. Official copy of birth certificate
    3. Original Certificate of Naturalization
  2. Current ID (valid driver’s license)
  3. Two passport photographs (photos must have been taken within last six months; full face)
  4. Social Security Number

Students must apply in person to a U. S. post office that is authorized to accept passport applications; a passport agency, or county or superior court.

Applying for passport

First Time Applicants

  1. Complete DS–11 Application for a Passport**do not sign application until instructed to do so by the Acceptance Agent
  2. Have evidence of U. S. Citizenship
  3. Present Identification
  4. Pay the Applicable fees****fees can be found at State Department website ( )
  5. Provide two passport photos

General Idea Of Processing Times:

This page provides a general information about passport processing time. Remind students not to wait too late to apply

Routine 4-6 weeks
Expedited 3 weeks
Expedited at Agency 8 business days***

***Based on need; some restrictions may apply

Helpful Passport Hints:

  1. Always make photocopies of your information when applying for your passport.
  2. When traveling, make sure you have two copies of the passport and other important documents:
    1. Leave one copy at home with a family member
    2. Carry a copy in a secure place
    3. The instructor should have a copy of everyone’s passport
  3. If you already have a passport, you should make sure the passport is valid for at least 6–12 months after your return to the U. S. Some countries do not allow entrance if the passport expires within six months of your return to your home country.
  4. It may be a good idea to scan a copy of the passport and email it to yourself.

Department of State Passport Website

( )

This is a helpful website. You can find out a lot of information here. You can find helpful information about:

  • Your destination
  • Travel alerts, cautions and warnings
  • Vaccinations
  • Currency restrictions for eating
  • Visa requirements
  • Passport validity
  • Embassies and Consulates
  • Safety and Security Concerns
  • Health
  • Travel and Transportation
  • Links to travel

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