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United States Passport
A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries, as well as to return to the United States. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify United States passports.
Give yourself several months before your planned trip to apply for a passport; during peak application times it can take up to 10 weeks to receive the final document in the mail. Take into account the time of year you are applying – demand for passports goes up during the spring and summer.
If you need a passport in a hurry, you can request expedited service (to get the passport to you in about three weeks) for an additional $60 per application. If you are traveling within the next two weeks and really need your passport quickly, you’ll have to go to the closest regional passport agency to apply.
After you apply, you can check the status of your passport application online. Get even more detailed information from the U.S. Department of State's travel pages and read FAQs on the passport application process. Prices and policies may change, so be sure to check back for all the latest information regarding travel!
Student Travel Visas
Depending on which country you are planning to visit, you may also need to obtain a student visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country, formally allowing you to visit. Visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. Note that generally you are not able to apply for a visa until you have been accepted into a study abroad program or university abroad. Visa applications generally require an acceptance letter from the university abroad or study abroad program.
Look through the U.S. Department of State’s Country Specific Information to find information about your destination. You can research the entry and exit requirements, get more details about necessary documentation, and find out how to apply. You may be able to apply online, at that country’s U.S. embassy or even at the airport in the country itself once you get there. For country specific visa information, please see: Country Specific Visa Information.