Visa FAQs

What is a visa?
A visa is authorization that is obtained from a host country for an individual to enter and stay legally in that country for a specific purpose and period of time. Whether you need to apply for a visa before traveling to your placement destination depends on which country issued your passport or where you have legal residency.  In most cases, applicants are required to apply for a visa in advance from the host country's nearest Consulate. 

Do I need a visa to student teach abroad?
Depending on the country, you may or may not need a visa to enter your host country.  In some cases, a travel agent or other service agencies will be able to assist you with this process for a fee. Many countries have their visa application on the Internet, others require you to make the request and have the application sent directly to you. In most cases, you will be assessed a fee for obtaining a visa. COST students seeking a placement for longer than 12 weeks (90 days) are the most likely to need a visa. Do your research ahead of time. 

When do I apply for a visa?
You can only begin the visa application process after you have received an official COST Placement Confirmation letter detailing your placement location and Overseas Coordinator. Often, our Overseas Coordinators can help you determine if you will need a visa and which one based on previous placements. They will also be able to supply you any additional documents you may need for the application. DO NOT purchase your flight before securing a visa.

What documents will I need in order to apply for a visa?
A number of documents may be required in order to apply for a visa, such as: acceptance letter from the host institution, proof of financial resources, proof of return airfare, photos, and/or other documentation. The requirements and fees will vary from country to country and are often dependent on how long you plan to stay in the country and the purpose of your stay. Be sure to plan ahead. 

How long does it take to get a visa?
The process for obtaining a visa can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. You can help ensure you will have plenty of time to apply for a visa if you do a little bit of homework before you receive your official confirmation from COST, or even before you submit your application. Research the visa requirements for each of the four (4) countries you list in your application in order to be well informed and prepared to begin any necessary visa application as soon as you receive placement confirmation.

What happens if my visa application is denied?
While a denial is unlikely, there is no guarantee that a country will issue you your requested visa. If your visa is denied, Contact your US COST Coordinator immediately. COST will review the situation and work with you to find a suitable alternative.

Where can I get more information on visa requirements? 
For additional information on visa requirements, contact the nearest consulate of the country you plan to visit, or go to and review the travel advisory section for details on entry requirements.

Visa Information by Country

The links below are meant to guide you to an initial "jump off" source for learning about visa requirements for US citizens for each country COST offers placements in. While COST coordinators are not authorized to offer visa advising, we will work with you to provide any necessary documents and help guide you in the right direction if you require a visa for your placement. All other visa questions should be directed to the appropriate visa processing Consulate or Embassy.

Page last modified April 4, 2019