To study abroad, you must have a signed, valid passport from your country of citizenship that will not expire for a minimum of six 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. All U.S. passport holders studying in Japan for more than 90 days must obtain a student visa prior to departure. You will not be able to apply for your visa until you have received a Certificate of Eligibility from Japan, which will arrive one to two months before the program start. You may be required to make an in person appearance depending on which consulate you apply to. During the visa process, the consulate will have your actual passport. Traveling internationally prior to the start of your study abroad program will interfere with your visa application process.
Further information will be posted to your USAC Student Gateway account in the Visa Guide, which you will receive about four months prior to the program start. Program Advisors in the Central Office are also available to answer any visa questions you may have.
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.