It is important for you to obtain the appropriate travel documents for your time abroad. Although the Learning Abroad Center does not issue passports or visas, there are a number of helpful resources available to help you obtain these important travel documents.
A passport is a document issued by your national government proving your identity and nationality. Almost all international travel requires that you have and carry a passport. For citizens of the United States, passports are issued by the US Department of State and provides many uses:
When presented abroad, it is a request to foreign governments to permit you to travel or temporarily reside in their territories and access all lawful local aid and protection.
It allows you access to US Consular services and assistance while abroad.
It allows you to re-enter the United States upon your return home.
For most international travel, a passport must be valid for at least 6 months after re-entry to the United States.
First time applicants should follow the instructions listed on the US State Department's How to Apply for a Passport. Applicants must bring their completed application, photos, required documents, and form of payment to one of many acceptance offices, which can be found using the US State Department's Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page.
Those looking to renew an adult passport should follow the instructions listed at the US State Department’s US Passports and International Travel. For citizens over 16 years of age, a passport is valid for 10 years.
The fee to receive or renew a passport is between $110 to $140, depending on type (see the US State Department's Passport Fees). It generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to process, so apply for a passport as soon as possible. Expedited services are an additional $60.