Education Abroad

Planning to Go Abroad


You must have a passport valid for the duration of your stay abroad, and it should be valid for at least six months past your expected return date (in order to allow for any unanticipated delays in your return). If you already have a US passport that was issued when you were age 16 or younger, then it remains valid for only five years from the date of issue. If you apply for (or renew) your passport at age 17 or older, then it will be valid for ten years from the date of issue.

Processing a passport application can take six weeks or longer. Don’t delay; apply for or renew yours now.

TIP: We strongly recommend that you make a photocopy of your passport (and visa, if applicable). Take the photocopies overseas with you as well as the originals. Store the copies in a safe place, but in a different location than the originals. Should your passport/visa be lost or stolen, they will be easier to replace if you have a copy.

US citizens may apply for a passport at the nearest US post office, county clerk, or city clerk office.


A visa is official permission, granted by the authorities of the country where you wish to study or visit, which allows you to enter and remain in that country for a specific purpose and for a designated period of time. You must have a valid passport in order to apply for a visa, and the visa often takes the form of a stamp in your passport. Note that many countries require that your passport be valid at least six months past your intended stay in that country. In other words, if you intend to study abroad in the spring semester (January-May), your passport should be valid at least through November of that year. Some countries require you to obtain a visa either in the US or at a consulate abroad. Costs and entrance requirements vary, but expect to pay between $75 and $400. Find out now what visas, if any, you will need for places where you will either live or visit. Visas can take four weeks or more to process, and you may be required to appear in person to obtain the visa.

For special University of Rochester rates, we recommend you apply for your visa through VisaCentral, CIBT. Please note that this service may not be eligible to process your visa in every country. 

It is your responsibility to determine the requirements and to apply for a visa in a timely fashion. In most cases, you will need to allow 30-90 days for application processing.

If you are not a US citizen: Check now with the consulate of the country in which you’ll be studying to determine the visa requirements. Also, consult with an international student advisor about requirements for your re-entry to the US following your stay abroad.

Visit these websites for more information: and


Visa application requirements and processes can vary greatly from country to country, and even from Consulate to Consulate. The process can be time-consuming and complicated and we provide the following tips to help you know what to (possibly) expect as you begin the process.