The Visa – Not just a credit card

To travel outside the United States or your home country, you need a passport. Please see previous post on How to Get a Passport to Meet the Chatham Plan Graduation Requirement.

Sometimes, you also need an additional document called a Visa.  A visa is official permission from a country for you to visit. It is usually a stamp in your passport, but is also sometimes a piece of paper or electronic document that states how long you are allowed to stay in that country and in what capacity (tourist, study, business or other).

visa

Some of the countries that require US Citizens to have an entry visa currently include Brazil, China and Vietnam.  Other countries require a visa for study abroad if you will be in the country for a certain length of time, such as France, Italy and Spain.  Many countries require a visa if you will complete an internship while abroad, including the United Kingdom.

You should apply for a visa through the foreign country’s embassy in the United States several weeks or months in advance.  To apply for a visa, go to the country’s consulate website and find out the requirements, process of application and the fee.  Each country will have different requirements; however, countries usually require proof of funds to support the student while abroad, proof of enrollment, proof of travel, proof of housing in country, and sometimes fingerprints, or other biometrics.

Some countries may require a student to appear in person to obtain his or her visa. For some countries, students may be able to use a visa service that acts as a stand in for the student.  This visa service will charge the student an additional fee plus mailing charges.

Most study abroad providers have experience assisting their incoming students in the visa process.  Generally it is a good idea to find out about visa requirements and begin the visa application as soon as possible once you confirm your study abroad plans.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options or the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

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