Education Abroad FAQ

Education Abroad

Do I need a passport or visa?


U.S. and non-U.S. citizens need a valid passport both to enter other countries and to return to the United States. If you already have a passport, make sure it is valid until at least six months after your return date. If you must apply for or renew a passport, APPLY EARLY, since a minimum of eight to ten weeks is usually required for processing. During peak travel seasons, more processing time is required.

Passport forms are available at many federal and state courts, probate courts, some county/municipal offices and some post offices. You can also apply or renew online at the U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs website.


A visa is official permission granted by the authorities of a country where you will study or travel that allows you to enter and remain in that country for a specific purpose. The visa itself is frequently a stamp in your passport, not a separate document. You will need a passport before applying for a visa and the entire "passport-plus-visa process" may take several months, so start early. 

It is your responsibility to inquire about visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad; this includes countries that you plan to visit before or after your education abroad program.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements.

For more information about U.S. Visas, see the U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

For more information about passports and visas visit the MSU Office for Education Abroad 'Passports and Visas" webpage.