Santa Clara University

Study Abroad



A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship and permits a citizen to travel abroad. All students must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of return to the US. Apply for or renew your US passport:


What is a visa?

An official authorization appended to a passport, permitting entry into and travel within a particular country or region.

Do I need a visa?

To find out if you need a visa you should contact the foreign embassy of the country in which you hope to study.

How do I get a visa?

It is your responsibility to obtain your visa.  Normally you cannot apply for your visa until you have received acceptance letters from both Santa Clara University and also from your program sponsor.  However, we strongly recommend that you begin gathering together the necessary documents as soon as you are accepted for study abroad by SCU.

The documents required for a visa application vary from country to country, and can even vary from consulate to consulate for the same country. Examples of documents required for a visa application may include such items as: a round-trip plane ticket; proof of designated immunizations; proof of health insurance; a police report from your local police department; and even copies of your parents' tax return from the previous year. These are determined by each foreign country and may change frequently.

To ascertain what the visa requirements are for your country, contact the foreign embassy. Embassies are based in Washington D.C. and have consular offices around the U.S. through which you apply. Embassies usually require that you apply through the consulate that is in the district of your permanent address.

Be aware that, like the United States, many countries recently have tightened restrictions pertaining to issuing visas. You should know, also, that visa application procedures vary considerably. For example, some countries require you to apply in person at their consulate, while others require you to apply by mail.

Because visa requirements and procedures change frequently it is important that you understand what is required for your country and begin the application process early.

Program sponsors have experience working directly with embassies and consulates for their programs. After you have received an acceptance letter from your program, do not hesitate to contact your program sponsor with questions about the visa process for your program.

Some students have found it helpful to identify a friend here in the Bay Area who can act as proxy for you during the visa application process if your home residence is out-of-state. However, be aware that not all consulates permit this and you should check the requirements for your consulate carefully to find out if they will permit a proxy to drop-off or pick-up visa documents on your behalf.


How long does it take to get a visa?
Normally it takes between one day and ninety days.

Note: Because you are required to relinquish your passport to the embassy or consulate that will issue your visa, you may not be able to travel abroad during the visa application process.

How much does a visa cost?
Fees vary.  Currently visas range from as little as US$30 to over US$400.  Furthermore, the fees may change frequently and with no notice.  You are responsible for paying the consular fee for your visa.


What if I'm not a US citizen?
Your requirements for a visa may differ from those for US citizens.  Be sure to review the requirements as stated by the foreign embassy carefully.
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