Although pre-departure procedures can vary for each off-campus program, there are a number of common steps that students should take during the months before they leave for their semester(s) off-campus.
Passports and Visas
If you do not have a passport, begin applying immediately, as it can be a lengthy process. If you already have a passport, make sure it is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of your program; if it is not, you should begin the renewal process immediately. For more information, visit the State Department's travel information page.
As early as possible, you should also begin researching student visa requirements for the country in which you'll be studying. While a handful of countries will allow American students to enter on a tourist visa, most require that students apply for, and receive, a special student visa prior to entering the country (students who are citizens of countries other than the US may have different requirements). This process can be complicated and lengthy—students should begin researching the requirements for their particular study-abroad destination far in advance.
Although a few countries will allow you to apply online, others may require a hard-copy application, or even an in-person appearance at the appropriate consulate or embassy. Requirements vary from country to country, but may include passport-quality photos; your passport; proof of financial support; a letter from your host institution; proof of insurance; and/or other forms or documents. Visa application requirements can also vary depending to which consulate/embassy you will be applying. Please be sure to check with the consular office that covers your area of residence.
It is highly recommended that you apply for your visa (if applicable) at least 6-8 weeks before your departure to ensure you receive all the appropriate entry documentation. Some countries may recommend that you apply even earlier - please consult with the appropriate consulate/embassy to determine their recommended timeframe for applying.
Visa applications are entirely the responsibility of the student; please feel free to ask any questions that you have along the way. W&J and the Office of Study Abroad are not responsible for denial or delays of visa issuances.
We have created a Study Abroad Visa Guidelines .pdf document for download to help you in the visa process.
All students must attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation before they depart for their semester(s) off-campus. The purpose of this orientation is to prepare students for their off-campus experience in terms of both general information and program specific information. Students who are approved to study off-campus will receive specific details about the date, time, and location of their scheduled orientation.
Students approved to study off-campus will receive a packet of forms from the Office of Study Abroad, along with other guidelines for preparing for their semester(s) off-campus. Students should make sure that they have read and understood these forms thoroughly, and that they are familiar with the stated deadlines.
In most cases, students will also receive an acceptance packet and additional forms from their off-campus program. These forms vary from program to program; it is the student's responsibility to read over these forms carefully, and to comply with any program requirements.
Failure to complete the requirements of either the Office of Study Abroad or the off-campus program may result in the revocation of the student's approval to study off-campus. Students with questions or concerns about forms/requirements should contact the Office of Study Abroad for assistance.