Before Departure: Passport & Visa Information
According to the U.S. State Department, routine processing for passports may take as long as 4 weeks. This is due to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a law requiring airline passengers entering the U.S. from within the Western Hemisphere to possess a valid passport.
- For travel overseas and reentry into the US, a valid US passport is REQUIRED. It is the best documentation available and unquestionably proves your US citizenship.
- Leave as much time as possible to get your passport. Apply several months before you plan to go abroad. If you will need visas from foreign embassies, allow additional time. You cannot obtain a visa or leave the country until you receive your passport. Once issued, your passport is valid for ten years.
- Most countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. If your passport expires before the required validity, you will have to apply for a new one. Please check with the embassy or nearest consulate of the country you plan to visit for their requirements.
- Some Arab or African countries will not issue visas or allow entry if your passport indicates travel to Israel. Consult the nearest US Passport Agency for guidance if this applies to you.
Applying for a Passport
You are eligible to apply for your passport by mail if you can submit your most recent, undamaged passport. The passport must have been issued when you were over age sixteen and bear the same name or be accompanied by a legal document stating your name change.
You will need to apply in person if you are applying for the first time, if your US passport is not in your possession, if your recent passport has expired or was issued more than fifteen years ago, or if your previous US passport was issued when you were under the age of sixteen.
It will take about six weeks for your passport to be processed and returned to you, so apply early. Refer to the US Department of State's Passport Services Office for further information on the application process, including:
- Where to Apply: Allows you to find the nearest location to apply for a passport. It is provided by the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Passport Services/Customer Service, which designates many post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other state, county, township, and municipal government offices to accept passport applications on its behalf.
- What to Bring With You: Including necessary forms to be filled out before applying in person, evidence of U.S. Citizenship, valid identification, passport photos, and fees.
- How to Get Your Passport in a Hurry: Information on expedited servies, additional fees, a search engine for location Passport Agencies, etc.
- To Renew a US Passport
- Frequently Asked Questions: Including what to do if there is no birth record on file, how to obtain a copy of your Birth Certificate, etc.
If needed, visas must be obtained before going abroad. The visa is usually a stamp that is placed in the passport by the embassy of the destination country indicating that you can enter legally as a student. Allow sufficient time for processing your visa application, especially if you are applying by mail. Most foreign consular representatives are located in principal cities, and in many instances, a traveler may be required to obtain visas from the consular office in person in the area of his/her residence. Dean Mancini's office maintains a list of entry requirements, including addresses and phone numbers of consulates.
Obtaining a visa can take time; start early!
- It is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain visas, where required, from the appropriate embassy or nearest consulate of the country you are planning to visit; however, some of the programs will assist you in obtaining a visa. Check the program information in the black binders. Remember, you cannot obtain a visa until you have a valid passport. The visa is usually a stamp that is placed in the passport.
- Obtaining a visas can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the embassy. Please DO NOT make plans to leave the country until your passport is returned to you.
- You cannot apply for a visa until you have your official letter of acceptance. Once you receive your acceptance letter, we recommend strongly that you immediately begin the visa application process. Haverford will also issue you an Immigration Letter after you have been accepted. Please keep copies of these documents as you will need them to get a Visa and to enter your chosen country!
- Information about specific countries and entry requirements can also be found on the US Department of State’s Information for Americans Traveling Abroad and in the black binders in the Resource Library in Chase 213.
- Students applying to programs in Italy should apply through the Italian Consulate in Philadelphia. No Appointment needed. Visa applications can be submitted in person during office hours Monday, Wednesday or Friday 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Note: If applying for the Corsi Singoli visa, you will need assistance with documents and translations. Please contact: Dr. Comm. Claudio C. Cifoni, Corrispondente Consolare
per il Consolato Generale D'Italia in Filadelfia
Notary Public, Registered & Sworn Interpreter, Legal Translations, Assistance in Italian Legal matters
Phone: (215) 477-8419 Fax: (215) 477-6912
- All students seeking to study in Spain for a period of greater than 180 days are required to submit an FBI Background Check with the Apostille of the Hague stamp as a component of their student visa application. Additional updates will be provided at www.nafsa.org/SpainVisas as available.
- Remember, you are applying for a student visa and not a tourist visa.
- Phone or write ahead to the consulate and be sure you know what the requirements are for obtaining a visa. Do you need photographs? Do you need to provide health insurance information? Do you need X-rays? Will the consulate require a police or FBI background check?
- If you are applying for a visa in person, remember to call the consulate regarding office hours. Many consulates are only open in the morning and are closed for local holidays.
- If you are applying by mail send everything either certified, Fed Ex or Priority mail and enclose a pre-paid self-addressed envelope for return of you passport and documents.
- Do you need documents notarized? Haverford can provide this service for free. Joanne Gullifer in the Business Office, and Lucy Stewart in the Vice-President’s Office can provide these services
Regulations regarding working on a student visa vary from one country to another. The most reliable information can be found on the country'e embassy website. Below are some examples of popular destinations where it is possible to work while on a student visa.
Click on an option below for more information.