Undergraduate Study Abroad

Passports & Visas

All students will need a valid passport to study abroad.

If you’re considering studying abroad, but don’t have a valid passport that extends through at least six (6) months beyond the end of your study abroad program, please plan to apply for or renew your passport immediately. Ideally, you should have your passport in hand by your program application deadline since some programs require passport documentation at that time. If you do not have a passport at the time of applying, please inform your study abroad advisor, as this can jeopardize your semester abroad. 


Getting a U.S. passport can take anywhere from 5 to 11 weeks, so early planning is key! Please visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information on this process. 

Important: If your last passport was issued when you were under the age of 16, you are required to apply for your passport in person. 


    Local options for submitting your passport application: 


    Local option for taking passport photos: 


    For reference, most passport application/renewal fees total $130, with an extra $60 if you choose to expedite. You’ll also want to factor in the cost of a passport photo, which on average costs $15. Please visit the U.S. Department of State website for the most current information on processing times, instructions, fees, and materials needed to apply for or renew a U.S. passport. 

    Visa Information

    A visa is an official travel authorization placed in your passport that grants you permission to enter and stay in a country for a specified time period. Many countries require that visiting students obtain a visa (or a residency permit, in some cases) in order to study abroad. Most visas can be secured by appointment at your host country’s local U.S. consulate that has jurisdiction over your home school and/or permanent residence. Processing times can range from same-day to over three months. If you’re unsure if you need a visa, please contact your program provider. It’s your responsibility to obtain a visa, if needed, and to verify the visa requirements of your host country. For many students, working with a foreign consulate can be a new learning experience and their first introduction into the host culture. Think of this as practice for studying abroad!

    Plan Ahead

    Be mindful that it is common practice for passports to be turned in with visa applications at your host country’s consulate. You should be prepared to be without your passport for a designated amount of time, as determined by the consulate, and you will not be able to travel internationally during this time period.

    Note: If you plan to travel to other countries as part of your program, or en route to/returning from your program, you should be aware of immigration regulations and any additional visas you may need to obtain to travel to or through these countries. Immigration requirements vary by country and by citizenship, so please do your research prior to traveling.  

    Brown/CASA Programs

    If you’re studying on a Brown/CASA program, a Brown Global programs staff member may assist with batch visa processing and visit the local consulate on your behalf, if this is allowed by the consulate. While the Brown Global Programs team will provide visa guidance in certain cases, the Global programs team is not responsible for visa complications, delays, or denials. Granting visas is at the sole discretion of the consulate of your host country, and Brown does not have any control over this process. Please be sure to understand and adhere to all consular requirements and to pay close attention to any updates on entry/exit procedures for your host country. 


    If you’re an international student who is interested in studying abroad, you should check in with an advisor in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) to ensure that you don’t jeopardize your U.S. residency status by studying abroad. As with U.S. students, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your program’s end date. Find out if you need a visa to study in your host country, and if so, start researching those requirements as early as possible. For fall/full year students, if you are considering applying for your visa over the summer in your home country, be sure to confirm with the appropriate consulate in your home country to see if you are eligible to apply there, or whether you should plan to apply while still in the U.S.

    As a first step, please ensure that you notify your study abroad advisor to discuss your options. That said, there are a number of factors you should consider: 

    • Many countries only require citizens of certain countries to obtain a visa. If a visa is needed for your semester abroad, you may be able to avoid the visa process altogether if you hold more than one passport. For example, if you’re looking to study in France, and hold both U.S. and Spanish citizenship (with valid passports for both countries), you will not need to obtain a French student visa since you’re an EU citizen with a valid passport. You would simply need to travel on your Spanish passport in this case. Please note that you should still carry your U.S. passport with you, especially if you plan to re-enter the U.S. once your program ends. 
    • If one of your passports is expired, you should consider your study abroad pre-departure timeline, as well as possible visa requirements for your host country, and decide whether or not it makes sense for you to renew your expired passport for your semester abroad. 
    • For all related documentation pertaining to your semester abroad, please only provide the information for the passport you plan to use while studying abroad.