To study abroad, you must have a signed, valid passport from your country of citizenship that will not expire for a minimum of 6 months after your planned return date. If you do not have a passport, or it's about to expire, make sure you apply or renew as soon as possible! U.S. Citizens can refer to the U.S. Department of State's website for more information regarding passports.
A student visa is official permission by a foreign government to live and study in that country. It typically comes in the form of a stamp that is inserted directly into your passport. All US passport holders studying for a semester or yearlong term are required to obtain a student visa prior to departure. This process can take 2–3 months or longer to complete. During this time, the consulate will have your actual passport while your visa is processed. Traveling internationally prior to the start of your study abroad program will interfere with your visa application process.
We offer free group visa submissions for students who have a permanent or university/college address in the jurisdictions of the Chicago and Los Angeles Italian consulates. Coordinating group submissions with these consulates is a complex process; our ability to submit group batches of visa applications in a given jurisdiction may change with little notice and is outside of USAC's control. If the status of a group submission changes, you will be notified as soon as possible by your Program Advisor. Students outside these jurisdictions are responsible for submitting their own applications. Information and assistance throughout this process is still provided by your Program Advisor and through your Gateway account.
Further information will be posted to your Gateway account in the Visa Guide, which you will receive about 5 months prior to the program start. Program Advisors in the Central Office are also available to answer any visa questions you may have. You may be required to make an appointment and appear in person at the consulate to apply for your visa.
All costs related to obtaining a visa, including travel, are your responsibility.
Check with your home country consulate, as well as the embassy of the country in which you plan to study, regarding visa requirements. Permanent Residents of the U.S. should check with U.S. Immigration as leaving the country for more than one year may jeopardize permanent resident status. Tax clearance and re-entry forms may also be necessary in these cases.