What is a visa?
A visa is authorization that is obtained by a host country for an individual to enter and stay legally in that country for a specific purpose and period of time. In most cases, applicants are required to apply for a visa in advance from the host country's nearest Consulate (usually in Chicago or Detroit).
Do I need a visa to study 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 the 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.
What documents will I need 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.
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 www.travel.state.gov and review the travel advisory section for details on entry requirements.
PLEASE NOTE: Some locations (including Spain and Chile) will require students to have an FBI background check in order to obtain a visa. If fingerprints are needed for an FBI background check, these can be taken at the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, located at 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive, MI 49460. They can be contacted by phone at (616) 738-4025. Fingerprints are done from 8:00am-4:00pm, but they ask that you arrive by 3:30pm to fill out the appropriate paperwork. No appointment is necessary. You need to bring your driver’s license and they do charge $10 for a fingerprint card.