Before you Go

Pre-departure preparation ensures that you have a successful, productive and safe experience abroad. Below are the tools that you need to prepare for your time abroad. Use the pre-departure handbook to get organized and visit the links to find out more.

Pre-Departure Handbook

Passport and Visa Information

  • If you don’t have a passport, apply for one as soon as possible.
  • If you do have a passport, verify that it is valid for at least 6 months after the end of your program.
  • For U.S. citizens, visit www.http://travel.state.gov to renew or apply for a new passport.
  • For non U.S. citizen, visit the embassy website of your home country to find out your specific requirements.
  • Helpful Tips: 
  • You must have a signed valid passport.
  • It is a good idea for a relative to obtain and maintain a valid passport as well, in case of an emergency requiring them to travel.
  • Remember to fill in the emergency information page of your passport.


Visa/Entry Documents

If required, you must also obtain a visa or other travel documents to study in the host country. Non-U.S. citizens may have different requirements. Refer to the State Department’s Foreign Entry Requirements page on their website http://travel.state.gov as well as the website of the Consulate or Embassy of the country you will be traveling to for information on foreign visas. Your Education Abroad adviser is here to assist but remember it is YOUR responsibility to secure your visa.

Helpful Tips:

  • A visa is a document provided by the country where you will be traveling.
  • It gives permission for you to enter the country.
  • Visa requirements vary from country to country.
  • You must have a passport before you can apply for a visa.
  • The country issuing a visa typically attaches various conditions of stay, such as the territory covered by the visa, dates of validity, period of stay, whether the visa is valid for more than one visit, etc. In some instances, you may need to apply for a visa in person at a consulate.
  • Visas may be paper documents that are requested and received prior to arrival, or may be a stamp that is placed on your passport upon arrival.
  • Information relating to all visas may be obtained from the embassy or consulate of the country or countries in which you will travel.
  • U.S. citizens may also also consult the U.S. Department of State website for entry requirements.
  • If you are an international student, you can visit your home country’s equivalent institution.

 

Visas and length of stay

  • Research visa requirements early!
  • Student visas can last from one month to one year depending on the country where you will be studying. If you plan to stay longer, you will need to research if it is possible to extend your visa.
  • Many countries do not require a visa for U.S. students traveling to their country for less than 90 days.
    • If you are an international student, this provision may not be available to you! Do not sign a contract for your program until you know that you can get the visa you need in the time frame available to you.
    • International students should plan to apply for a visa at the consulate nearest BG. You should not plan to apply for a visa in your home country. Applications filed at other consulates are often denied.
  • The consulate or embassy of the country to which you are traveling should always be consulted for current visa entry requirements in tandem with the Department of State or equivalent.
  • If you are traveling to the Schengen Area (most of Western Europe), we advise you to familiarize yourself with the restrictions on periods of stay and the ability to do back-to-back programs or extended travel before or after your program. You can consult the National Association of International Educatos (NAFSA) for Schengen area borders agreement information.