It is always a good idea to have a valid passport. You never know what international opportunities may come your way. Apply for a passport and be prepared!
If you already have a passport, verify that it is valid for more than 6 months after your intended stay abroad. If your passport has expired (or will expire within this timeframe), then you must renew your passport. The processing time for a new passport or passport renewal can be 4 to 6 weeks, so plan accordingly. Expedited service is also available for an extra fee. Make sure to visit the appropriate website(s) first, and come prepared with all required documentation.
Applying for a New U.S. Passport
If you do not already have a passport, you must apply for one in person. You can apply for a passport at a post office, federal or state courthouse, or a passport agency. Detailed information and application forms can be found on the U.S. State Department website (http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html). We suggest that you read the requirements posted on the site thoroughly, as to prevent unnecessary trips to the issuing agency.
In Ann Arbor, you may obtain and submit a passport application at the following locations:
- U.S. Post Office: 2075 W. Stadium, (734) 662-0223, https://www.usps.com/shop/apply-for-a-passport.htm
- Vital Records Division, Room 106, Washtenaw County Court House, at the corner of Huron and Main, (734) 222-6720, http://www.ewashtenaw.org/
You will need two passport photos (2″ x 2″). Photos can be taken at the U.S. Post office for an additional cost. Reasonably priced photos can also be purchased at UM Photo Services, 500 S. State St. – LSA Building, Room 0246, www.photography.umich.edu. FedExKinko’s also offers passport photos.
Renewing a U.S. Passport
You may apply for a passport renewal by mail if you meet certain U.S. State Department guidelines (visit http://travel.state.gov/ ). You may also apply in person.
We suggest that you make at least two copies of the first page of your passport. Leave one copy at home with a parent or friend, and take one with you – but keep it in a place separate from your passport. Another place to leave a photocopy of the passport is at the nearest U.S. Embassy. If your passport gets lost or stolen, it is much easier to replace it with a copy of the old one.
A visa is an entry document that is issued by the host country. It is typically stamped directly into your passport. This means you have to have a valid passport before you can apply for a visa. Some countries have visa waiver programs for U.S. citizens. In this case, U.S. citizens are not required to get a visa. Non-U.S. citizens should consult the host country’s requirements to determine if a visa is needed.
It is your responsibility to contact the appropriate consulate and apply for a student visa. Be aware that processing may take 4 – 6 weeks. You may need medical forms and/or exams, which may delay the visa acceptance further. You will not be able to apply for a student visa until after you have been accepted into the study abroad program.
Official Letter of Acceptance: In some cases you will be required to provide an official letter of acceptance in order to obtain your visa. Contact the program sponsor or host institution to obtain the acceptance letter.
Proof of Enrollment: If proof of enrollment is required, an official certificate of enrollment may be obtained by contacting the UM Registrar’s office or downloading the Certification Form from the website: https://www.umich.edu/~regoff/forms/certification-form.pdf.
Permission to Study Overseas from Home Institution: In some cases you may be required to provide proof that UM approves your plans to study abroad and that you are eligible to receive transfer credit for the courses you take overseas. Once you have completed the credit evaluation process, the IPE Office can provide you with this letter. You must send an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide address and content information for the letter.
Embassy/Consulate: You must contact the appropriate consulate in order to find out specific information about visa requirements. Please refer to the Electronic Embassy, http://www.embassy.org for embassy and consulate contact information.