There are many important things to consider before departing for your study abroad experience. Start planning for your departure sooner rather than later.
Prepare your Travel Documents
You will need to have a valid passport before applying to a study abroad program. US citizens are required to have a passport to enter foreign countries and to gain re-entry into the United States. If you do not have a passport, or your passport has expired or will expire within 6 months, apply for one as soon as possible. Passport processing can take up to 6 weeks or longer, and we recommend that you apply several months in advance. You will need a valid passport before you apply for any country-specific visas. For more information on applying for a passport, see the US Government’s website.
Applying: You must apply for a passport in-person. You may do so at one of the following locations:
- A US post office authorized to accept passport applications
- A passport agency (some travel agencies may aid if you proceed by this route)
- A county or superior court. In Burlington:
Chittenden Superior Courthouse
175 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05401
8:30 - 4:00 p.m. Monday - Friday
Renewing: If you already hold a passport that has been issued within the last 15 years, and you were at least 16 years old at the time of issuance, you may be eligible to renew your passport by mail. Passport renewal application forms can be obtained from the Chittenden Superior Courthouse. Or, find out pricing and get an application on the US Government's website.
For F-1 and J-1 International Students: You will need your passport from your home country to be valid during the full time of your study abroad experience. Before returning to UVM from overseas, your passport must be valid for at least six more months in order to reenter the US. You will also need to obtain an I-20/DS-2019 travel signature and have your F-1 or J-1 record updated in SEVIS to show your study abroad. This can be done by meeting with an International Student Advisor.
Apply for a Visa
Many students need visas in order to study abroad. In most cases, you will need to obtain a visa before leaving the United States. As with your passport, please allow plenty of time for your visa to be processed.
Visas can only be obtained by applying directly to the foreign government via their diplomatic offices in the US. Be aware that some countries do not accept applications through the mail and require you to appear in-person at their US office in order to secure your visa.
Find out if you need a visa: Once you have been accepted to your program, check with your program to see if you require a visa, and if so, which type of visa you need.
Find out if you or the program secures the visa: Check to see if your program will process the visa for you. If your program does not process visas for its participants, you will be responsible for securing your own visa.
Obtain the visa: The easiest way to obtain a visa is by applying to a foreign consulate (located in most major US cities) or to the foreign embassy in the US. For a list of embassies in the US, you can refer to the State Department's website; each embassy's page will provide links to their regional consulates (if they have them). Visa application processes vary widely between countries. Check the consulate or embassy website for information regarding application fees, requirements, process timeline, and regulations regarding visa validation upon arrival in your host country.
For F-1 and J-1 International Students: Check with the foreign embassy/consulate of the country where you will be studying abroad to confirm the type of visa you need. Note that in some cases consulates and embassies will only work with individuals who are citizens of the country in which the consulate/embassy is located. This might mean that you are working with people who are physically working in your home country at a foreign consulate or embassy, rather than one in the US.
Tip: Photocopy everything before submitting it and use certified mail both ways. Usually, visas are stamped directly in your passport and you will likely have to submit your passport along with your application. Certified mail will ensure that this valuable document can be traced if lost.
Verify your Health Insurance Coverage
While making your plans to study abroad, verify your own health insurance policy to see what coverage it provides for medical services abroad. You are required to have a valid medical insurance policy in order to participate on a study abroad program. Some programs and/or countries may require that you purchase their health insurance. Check with your university or program provider for requirements.
Get any Needed Immunizations
If your physician locally or at home can provide you with international travel medical advice, please feel free to the seek the guidance of that specialist. Also note that the UVM Travel Clinic serves the needs of UVM students traveling to foreign countries for study abroad or for independent/personal travel. Students will meet with experienced nurses who will provide many services including required and recommended immunizations for your host region.
The Travel Clinic is located within Primary Care, on the ground floor of 425 Pearl Street. Appointments can be made by calling Primary Care at 802-656-3350.
Attend Pre-Departure Orientation
UVM students studying abroad must attend a pre-departure orientation. These orientations are held during the last few weeks of the semester; students should attend the orientation in the semester before the intended study abroad date. The pre-departure orientation is very interactive, and we require students to bring their laptops with them.
Note: This pre-departure orientation does not apply to students participating on short-term UVM Travel Study programs.
Students studying abroad in Spring 2018 should plan on attending pre-departure orientation on Saturday, November 11, 2017. Registration is located at the kiosk help desk area on the 3rd floor of Waterman Building. Check your UVM email closer to this date for more details.
Read the Study Abroad Guidebook
All UVM students studying abroad are required to read the Study Abroad Guidebook before departure. It is a comprehensive resource guide covering topics such as health and safety, International SOS, insurance, and packing. The Guidebook is also designed to be a resource while students are abroad.
Get Final UVM Approval
Exchange and External Students: Final UVM approval is not granted until you have completed all of iAbroad and have registered for the OverSeas Study Program (OSSP) or BUCK for the Buckham Program. You will receive a confirmation email after you have completed the final form in iAbroad and again after you have successfully registered for either OSSP or BUCK.
UVM Semester, Travel Study, and Independent Travel Students: Final UVM approval is not granted until you have completed all of iAbroad. You will receive a confirmation email after you have completed the final form.