Passports & Visas
Timing Your Passport Application
You must apply for your passport as soon as you know that you'll be studying abroad. Apply as early as possible as the processing time for YOUR passport may not fit the standard processing times.
Mistakes on Passports
Complete your passport application on line (see instructions below) BEFORE going to apply in person. Typing your own information in on-line can help reduce the chance of mistakes in your passport.
Procedures for Applying for a U.S. Passport
Applicants for U.S. passports enter personal information online and then print the finished form, which includes a 2D barcode. Passport application forms completed using the on-line data entry system must still be submitted per the instructions below, along with accompanying documents.
- Complete your passport application on line (for first-time passport applications, you'll need form DS-11).
- PRINT THE FORM ON TWO PAGES. PASSPORT AGENCIES CANNOT ACCEPT BACK-TO-BACK FORMS.
- Do not sign the form.
- Go to your hometown courthouse or post office in person or apply in Oshkosh. In Oshkosh, Winnebago County Courthouse does not require an appointment and is just 2 blocks east of campus on the corner of Algoma and Jackson (415 Jackson St, room 419; Telephone: 236-4848). The Oshkosh Post Office is near the airport, but does require an advance appointment.
- As of April 2011, you must present the following when applying for a U.S. passport:
- your driver's license.
- two passport photos (you can have them taken on campus at Titan Central).
- a certified birth certificate (with the raised seal and the full names of the applicant's parent(s)).
- a check (with your pre-printed address on it) made out to Passport Services.
- cash or a separate check (with your pre-printed address on it) made out to the Clerk of Courts. The total cost for a passport is approximately $135 plus approximately $10 - $20 for the passport photos.
- immediately sign it and fill in page four.
- Enter your passport details into your on-line study abroad application (passport tab).
If you choose to submit digitized photos, they must meet the same requirements of all passport photographs. Digitized photographs are produced on digital printers, some of which will produce a photograph in which the dots are seen or which make the picture look grainy. Acceptable photos have a continuous tone image that looks very photo-like.
If you already have a passport, check to make sure it is valid through the end of your projected time abroad. Some countries require your passport to be valid for up to six months after your projected date of return. If you need to renew your passport, follow the instructions for renewing a passport at http://travel.state.gov/passport/renew/renew_833.html.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact the Office of International Education in Dempsey 202 so that we can begin the visa paperwork right away.
To check on the status of your passport application, go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/status/status_2567.html.
If you have other questions regarding passports, visit the U.S. State Department web site for passports at http://travel.state.gov/passport/npic/npic_898.html.
Live operator assistance is available from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays (1-877-487-2778; TDD/TDY: 1-888-874-7793). Passport customers may also contact the National Passport Information Center at any time during the day or night for automated information or, if a passport is needed within 14 days, to make an appointment at a Passport Agency.
The passport card may be used at U.S. land and sea ports-of-entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda only. The card may not be used to travel by air.
What is a visa?
A visa is an endorsement or stamp placed by officials of a foreign country on a U.S. passport that makes it possible for the bearer to visit that foreign country. In some cases, U.S. citizens and citizens from other countries can enter a foreign country without applying for a visa in advance, instead receiving their visa at the foreign airport through the "visa waiver program". In other cases, U.S. citizens and citizens from other countries must apply for a visa in advance.
Do I need a visa to study or teach abroad?
To check whether you will need to apply for a visa in advance, check the web site of the foreign embassy. You can access these web sites from the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Embassies in the U.S. Once you are on the web site of the foreign embassy, look for their "consular services" or "consular information." You will find information pertaining to visa applications there. Very often the information presented on these sites is more confusing than clarifying. Stop in to see staff in the OIE or call the embassy/consulate directly if you have questions.
Many countries do not require U.S. citizens to obtain a visa before entering as a tourist for a short time, and a few do not require visas for unpaid teaching or for study of one semester or less. If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact the OIE immediately so that we can determine whether or not you will need a visa for the country you plan to visit.
Faculty-led and Student Exchange Programs
Visa requirements, if any, are listed on your program's web page.
Educators Abroad Student Teaching (EAST) will let you know whether you need a visa for your host country. It is your responsibility to apply for the visa if needed.
How do I get a visa?
If you are on a UW Oshkosh-sponsored faculty-led or student exchange program and you need a visa to study abroad in a particular country, the Office of International Education will make the forms and instructions for applying available to you via the web page for your program. Getting a visa can take anywhere between several weeks to several months. Applications are always done through the foreign country's local consulate or embassy, generally located in Chicago or in Washington D.C. Sometimes, individuals must travel to the consulate in person to obtain a visa. Other times, individuals can apply by mail. Information on applying for a visa is always listed on the web pages of the Foreign Embassies in the U.S. .
You will need, among other things, a valid passport in order to apply for your visa, so be sure to apply for your passport early!
A residence permit entitles foreign nationals to the right of residence within the issuing country.
In some cases, U.S. citizens and citizens from other countries can remain in a foreign country without applying for a residence permit. In other cases, U.S. citizens and citizens from other countries must apply for a residence permit either before traveling or after having arrived in the foreign country.
Faculty-led and Student Exchange Programs
Residence permit requirements, if any, are listed on your program's web page.
Educators Abroad Student Teaching (EAST) will let you know whether you need a residence permit for your host country. It is your responsibility to apply for the residence permit if needed.
This page was last updated on: February 11, 2014