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A passport is required to leave your country of citizenship. Without a passport, you will not be able to study abroad. Apply early! Expect 4 - 6 weeks to receive your passport, or possibly longer depending on the workload of the passport agency. Expedited service does exist for additional fees. Many countries require that a passport be valid for 6 months from the date of RETURN to your country of citizenship, so if you have an existing passport, check its validity and get a new one that meets the requirements.
For U.S. Citizens, visit the State Department's website for information on applying for a U.S. passport:
For citizens of other nations, please visit your country's passport agency for information on renewing your current passport.
When you receive your passport, sign it and fill in the emergency contact information. You should also make copies or a scan of your passport in case you lose your passport while overseas.
A visa is required to enter another country. Sometimes it is in the form of a stamp you receive when arriving in another country, but other times it must be applied for and received before departure and will be entered into your passport. Visas vary greatly from country to country (and from applicant to applicant). To verify the specific visa you will need, it is important to communicate with the nearest consulate in the U.S. of the country in which you are studying. Those wishing to do international internships may need a work visa.
You must have a passport to apply for a visa. It can take from one day to three months to get a visa depending on the country, the purpose of travel, and your citizenship. If you are studying abroad with a program provider (SAI, IES, CIEE, CEA, CET, ACTR, ISA, Semester at Sea, SIT, etc.), the provider will be able to help you with this process.
The Study Abroad Office does not process or issue visas for students. We are here to advise and assist students with the process, but obtaining a visa is ultimately the responsibility of the student going abroad.
All students should review the embassy or consulate web page of countries they plan to visit for updated visa and travel requirements. Visas may be acquired either directly from the consulate or from a visa service. Pay attention to detail when submitting paperwork to prevent delays.
The U.S. Department of State also has a good resource for Entry/Exit requirements. For information on entry requirements for a specific country, please go to the Entry/Exit Requirements section in the Country Specific Information for the country you are interested in at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html. You may also contact the U.S. embassy or consulate of that country for further information.
Answers at consulates often change from day to day, consulate to consulate, and staff member to staff member. Be patient, friendly, and don’t wait until the last minute. They are only open a few hours a week and close for all their national holidays, as well as for all U.S. holidays. As part of this process, you may be required to visit the nearest consulate in New Orleans or Atlanta, for example.
While the University of Mississippi does not endorse any particular company or agency, there are multiple agencies dedicated to helping travelers get visas. For more information, please visit:
For a list of embassies in Washington, D.C., please visit: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/. You may need to locate the consulate that has jurisdiction over the citizens of Mississippi.
Many countries in the European Union, as well as several others around the world, require that international students staying over 90 days get a residence permit upon arrival. This is usually a bureaucratic process that requires a visit to the local police station or city hall in your host country. Be aware that you may need a residence permit. Research your study abroad country's laws and any specific immigration rules that may pertain to you.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT IDENTIFICATION CARD
Recognized by UNESCO, this card opens doors, gets discounts, and is relatively inexpensive to purchase. It is almost guaranteed that this card will make money for you if you plan on visiting many museums, theaters, concerts, and historic sites while abroad. It can even save you money on airfare and train tickets.
While we highly recommend this student card, students are not required to purchase it.
The University of Mississippi coordinates with a travel agency in Memphis, Tennessee, that allows students to bill the cost of airfare to the University of Mississippi bursar account. Only students on study abroad programs can bill airfare to their bursar accounts, so you will obtain the contact information upon acceptance into your study abroad program.
Students are free to use any site or trusted carrier to book a flight. Students can also use sites like Student Universe or STA Travel.
COUNTRY OF STUDY RESOURCES
The U.S. Department of State offers resources for travelers and students abroad to read about your country of study, check entry/exit requirements, learn about cultural norms, crime, and how to be a savvy traveler abroad:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides health and vaccine information by country. Find your country of study here.