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Passports and Visas

Passports

Everyone needs a valid U.S. passport to study abroad.

If you don't already have one, you should apply for a passport immediately.  The standard processing time can take from 4-6 weeks, but you need to plan for any delays and complications caused by misplaced documents, wrong mailing address, typos, or possible government shutdowns.  The State Department issued a press release regarding delays through 2018 U.S. Passports Apply Now to Avoid Delays.pdf

Passport information and copies are required well in advance of study away departure dates.  There are many situations where passport information is needed to complete travel arrangements and those deadlines are set by airlines and other outside agencies.

If you already have a passport, please check the expiration date to make sure it is good for at least 6 months after your return date. That is what the U.S. Department of State recommends.  U.S. passports are valid for 10 years. 

Forms and instructions on how to apply for a new passport, either the first time or to renew, are available on the U.S. Department of State website.  The  DS-11 form (first time passport application) is available on the Department of State website and in the Office of Global Engagement.  We also have copies of the current Passport Fee Chart.  In addition to the appropriate government form, you will need the following documents to apply for a first time passport:
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your drivers license or state ID
  • One passport photo (this can be done at CVS, Walgreen's or photo studios)
If you want to know where you can apply, please visit Where to Apply for a Passport and type in your ZIP  Code. In LaGrange, you can apply at the Main Post Office, 950 Lafayette Boulevard, 706-883-7126, and the Troup County Probate Court, 100 Ridley Avenue, 706-883-1690.

Once your passport application has been submitted, you may track its process by accessing the Online Passport Application Status System or contacting the National Passport Information Center at  NPIC@state.gov , 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 (TDD/TTY) to speak to a Customer Service Representative (Se habla español):
 
    Monday- Friday            8:00 am to 10:00 pm Eastern Time
    Saturday                     10:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern Time
    *Excluding Federal Holidays



Expedited Service
Expedited service is available by mail and costs an additional $60 per application.  If you need a passport in a hurry, contact the Atlanta Passport Agency, operated by the U.S. Department of State. The Atlanta Passport Agency only serves customers who are traveling within two weeks or submitting their passports for foreign visas within 4 weeks. To apply at the Agency you must schedule an appointment by calling this 24-hour, toll-free number:

1-877-487-2778. Atlanta Passport Agency
230 Peachtree St NW, Suite 1000
Atlanta, GA 30303


Appointments Available From: 
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday
All Federal Holidays are excluded

Visas

For those students going to study in another country during the Interim, you will more than likely not have to get a student visa for that country, your passport will do.  If it is required, it will be included in the course description and the faculty leading the program and the Office of Global Engagement will provide instructions on what you will need to do.  You will need a valid passport before you can apply for a visa.

For those students who will be studying abroad for a longer period of time, you will need a student visa from that country to show you have been approved to study there. Visa requirements and application processes vary greatly by country, so be sure to contact your host country’s embassy or consulate to learn the specifics. 

The Office of Global Engagement or the program provider will help you with information about visa requirements specific to your host country.  Some providers will help you apply for your visa; others leave it up to the student to arrange their visa. Check with your program to learn more about its procedures.