Your U.S. Passport
U.S. passports are issued by the U.S. State Department and are valid for 10 years for those 18 years of age and older. Your passport serves as your official identification as a citizen of your home country. All persons traveling from country to country must have a valid passport to show border and customs authorities when crossing most national borders (including leaving and entering the U.S.) and on all occasions that require official verification of citizenship.
Passport applications cannot be completed online – you will need to do some steps in person or via post, so plan accordingly. It can be a lengthy process, so apply for a passport as soon as you decide to study abroad. The U.S. State Department recommends that those traveling abroad in less than six weeks from the time of application expedite their application (see http://travel.state.gov/ for more information).
If you already hold a U.S. passport, make sure it is valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of your return from your stay abroad. To renew or extend your passport, visit http://travel.state.gov/; you may also obtain the necessary forms and information from any U.S Post Office or local county seat.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, refer to the embassy website of your host country to determine requirements.
Applying For a U.S. Passport
Instructions are available at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html.
Passport photo services are available locally at:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) locations in Alfred or Hornell
Alfred Travel (located at 11 West University / 607-587-8842)
The Walmart in Hornell (located at 1000 Ste. Rte. 36 / 607-324-7019).
Renewing a U.S. Passport
Instructions are available at http://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/renew.html
Different countries have different laws concerning citizenship. Some countries claim you as a citizen of their country if you were born there, if one of your parents is a citizen of that country, or if you are married to a citizen of that country. Even if you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, you may still be considered a citizen of another country under that country’s laws. If any of the above circumstances apply in your case, be sure to clarify your status with that country’s embassy or consulate before you leave the U.S.
Entry Visas for Study
A visa is official permission to visit a country and is granted by the government of that country. Visa formats vary considerably, from a simple stamp imprinted on one of the pages in your passport at the time you enter the country to an official document with your photograph attached.
For U.S. citizens, some countries require advanced processing of visas, while other countries require no advanced processing for brief visits up to a certain length. If you plan to do any traveling beyond the country where your study abroad program is located, you must check the visa requirements for all the countries you plan to visit by contacting the nearest consulate of that country.
Each country has its own requirements as to what documents are needed to file for a visa; as soon as you know where you are going, check the consulate’s webpage for more information.
As with your passport, you should also keep copies of your visa in a safe, accessible place while abroad, and leave copies with family or friends during your time away.