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Passports and Visas

Please make sure to apply for your passport as soon as possible after you’ve been accepted to a program (it not before)! Visit the U.S. State Department’s website to fill out a new passport or renewal application and find out how to submit your application. Please read all the directions carefully to avoid delays in receiving your passport as this can delay or interrupt travel plans.

Announcement for 2024-2025 Passports

PASSPORT UPDATE as of 3/18/2024: It takes 6-8 weeks (that's about 2 MONTHS!) to apply for a Passport; if you are using the routine service, then expect to receive a Passport within 8-10 weeks. There is an expedited process for a Passport, which takes about 2-3 weeks, please note that for the expedited service their are additional fees.  Please see the Passport Agency's website as these times can vary. 

The Passport Agency's website has also had a note on their website about mailing times are not included in the processing times. They have said it may take up to 2 weeks for passports to arrive to them due to mailing times and it could take up to 2 weeks for the passport to be mailed back to the individual. PLEASE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS AS YOU WORK ON YOUR PASSPORT STEPS AND DETERMINE IF YOU SHOULD EXPEDITE YOUR APPLICATION BEFORE YOUR APPLY.  

We highly encourage students who wish to study abroad endeavor to expedite your Passport process as soon as possible if you are planning to go abroad in 2025. This is for all passport holders (i.e. if you are looking to renew your passport or obtaining your passport for the first time).

Based on current information reported about the Passport Agency regarding passport deadlines, students should endeavor to apply or renew a passport by the following dates:

Non-Expedited (no additional rush fee):

  • Clayton State Maymester Programs: Submit the passport application by November 1, 2024

Expedited (an additional rush fee):

  • Clayton State Maymester Programs: Submit the passport application by January 3, 2024

This means that your application and application fees etc. should have already been sent to the Passport Agency by the dates listed above. This however may not guarantee your passport arrives in time for the Clayton State Study Abroad Office deadlines to submit your passport information. Without your passport, you will not be able to attend a program.

Students who apply for a passport after these dates should reconsider travel.

Passport Agencies

U.S. Passport Agency Operations Website

Special Passport Fairs with the Passport Agency

Passports and Visas

Passport 101 Student Edition & Tips Sheet

  • Proper documentation and identification is required for entry into foreign countries.
  • Each country has its own special requirements for entry based on your citizenship, purpose of visit, and length of stay.
  • Find out which requirements pertain to your situation, and plan in advance.
  • Obtaining documents from embassies or consulates can take months.


  • A passport is a document from your home country that confirms your citizenship.
  • It is the only form of identification recognized everywhere that verifies your citizenship.
  • You need a current passport that is valid beyond the time your program ends.
  • Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines may not even allow you to board if this requirement is not met.
  • Passport Photos must be size 2 x 2 and can be taken at Walmart, Walgreens, U.S. Postal Service (check for availability with your local postal service), CVS, and so forth.

For U.S. Citizens

  • Apply early!
  • Learn more and apply at the U.S. Department of State website.
  • The normal processing time is six to eight weeks, which has now changed to 8-13 weeks for 2023, longer during peak travel season.

Passport Application with the U.S. Department of State

For International Students

  • Consult your home country’s equivalent of the Department of State, or the “citizen’s services” section of your home country’s U.S. Consulate.
  • If you need an enrollment verification letter from Clayton State Study Abroad Office please allow at least one to two weeks for processing this document. Contact the Study Abroad Office at to request this information.
  • A visa is a document provided by the country where you will be traveling.
  • It gives permission for you to enter the country.
  • Visa requirements vary from country to country. Check with an embassy or consulate at
  • You must have a passport before you can apply for a visa.
  • The country issuing a visa typically will attach various conditions of stay, such as the territory covered by the visa, dates of validity, period of stay, whether the visa is valid for more than one visit, etc. In some instances, you may need to apply for a visa in person at a consulate.
  • Visas may be paper documents that are requested and received prior to arrival, or may be a stamp that is placed on your passport upon arrival.
  • Information relating to all visas may be obtained from the embassy or consulate of the country or countries in which you will travel.
  • U.S. citizens may also also consult theU.S. Department of State website for entry requirements.
  • If you are an international student, you can visit your home country’s equivalent institution.

Your visa application may need to include special letters or documents (such as a letter of acceptance from the educational institution or program).  Apply early for your visa to provide ample time for processing. Embassies and Consulates can usually issue your student visa 120 days before your program registration date.

Some common forms and documentation required to obtain a student visa include:

  • Passport
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Proof of enrollment in a study abroad program
  • 2×2 photograph
  • Transcripts
  • Standardized test scores
  • Flight itinerary

Research visa requirements early!

  • Student visas can last from one month to one year depending on the country where you will be studying. If you plan to stay longer, you will need to research if it is possible to extend your visa.
  • Many countries do not require a visa for U.S. students traveling to their country for less than 90 days.
  • If you are an international student, this provision may not be available to you! Do not sign a contract for your program until you know that you can get the visa you need in the time frame available to you.
  • International students should plan to apply for a visa at the consulate nearest to Clayton State –likely Atlanta or it may even be out of state. You should not plan to apply for a visa in your home country. Applications filed at other consulates are often denied.
  • The consulate or embassy of the country to which you are traveling should always be consulted for current visa entry requirements in tandem with the Department of State or equivalent.
  • Consider saving your visa documents required for your consulate appointment to a folder in your Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, or any cloud storage to be able to access these documents on-the-go again. You never know when you need a copy of something or to refer to the documents during, before, or after your appointment.

A visa is a validation on your passport signifying that you have been approved to enter a particular country. The application process can take two to six weeks to complete and requirements vary widely by country. For country-specific information, visit the U.S. Department of State online.

Submitting a Visa Copy

International and non-permanent resident students must submit a copy of their travel visa (if applicable for travel) to the Study Abroad Office once the document has been applied to the student’s passport. To learn more and submit the document, login and visit the Study Abroad Application Portal.

Submit Travel Visa

If you are traveling to the Schengen Area (most of Western Europe), we advise you to familiarize yourself with the restrictions on periods of stay and the ability to do back-to-back programs or extended travel before or after your program. You can consult the U.S. Department of State website for Schengen area borders agreement information.
  • Along with your originals, bring a copy of all travel documents and leave copies of your travel documents with a contact in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Scan your documents and email the copies to yourself and your contact in the U.S.
  • Keep copies in a safe place, separate from where you keep your original documents.