Passports and Visas
You will need a U.S. Passport even if you are going to Mexico. If you don't already have one, apply for one now. GET EXPEDITED PROCESSING if you are going abroad within the next six months. For complete information on applying for a passport, go to the State Department Travel Page.
Once you have your passport make 2–3 copies. Leave one with a family member or friend and put one in your suitcase. If you lose your passport, report it to local police, get written confirmation of the police report, and take the above documents to the nearest US consulate or embassy to apply for a new passport.
If you will be going abroad for a semester or year, it is a good idea to bring a CERTIFIED copy of your birth certificate (not the original). You may need it for visas or other official visits in your host country.
FBI Background Check
Some countries require that you have a national police report as well as a local report. Please note that these background checks can often take a significant time to process (up to four months) unless you work through an FBI Channeler (see below).
The national police report for students from the United States this background check will be a FBI Identity History Summary Check. For information on how to request an FBI Background Check consult this link. When requesting your FBI Background Check, you should submit a request that the document include the FBI seal and the signature of a division official. You will need the signature and seal to obtain the Apostille Seal of the Hague from the U.S. Department of State. The FBI Background Check can take up to 16 weeks. For a faster processing time CIE highly recommends that students submit their request via Electronic Departmental Order, or use a FBI-approved channeler. Loyola has worked successfully with the National Background Check, Inc.
Please note that University Police can take your fingerprints officially for this background check.
European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)
Starting in November 2023, US citizens traveling to Europe will need to apply for the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) prior to their trip. ETIAS is an automated system designed to boost security and identify threats. You can read more about it on the European Commission website.
It is important to always review your host university website on visas and the official government websites for visa application. The ISEP Country handbooks also provide detailed information. The information below was up to date when reviewed in August 2018. Visa requirements change regularly and you must check with the Consular websites of the host country to ensure that you comply with the current regulations. Non-U.S. students are responsible for verifying which additional Visa requirements they may have to meet (e.g. certified translations into English, additional documentation, etc.).
- Argentina Visa Information
- Australia Visa Information
- Brazil Visa Information
- Colombia Visa Information
- Ecuador Visa Information
- France Visa Information
- Germany Visa Information
- Ireland Visa Information
- Italy Visa Information
- Japan Visa Information
- Korea Visa Information
- Mexico Visa Information
- The Netherlands Visa Information
- New Zealand Visa Information
- Norway Visa Information
- Spain Visa Information
- Swiss Visa Information
- Turkey Visa Information
- UK Visa Information
- Vietnam Visa Information
Argentina Visa InformationAll students studying in Argentina for more than 90 days will be required to obtain a student visa. If you are studying on an ISEP program in Argentina, please consulate the Country Handbook for more information.
Students who are going to study in Argentina for any period longer than six months must obtain a national police report or certificate of good conduct prior to departing for Argentina. You will have to get the document translated by a certified translator after you arrive in Argentina.
- Universidad del Salvador visa information page
- Argentine Government Immigration Website
- ISEP Overview of Argentine Visa
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The Australian Student Visa application process is completely electronic for U.S. citizens and for most other nationalities. The student visa is recorded electronically with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA). Students will need their Confirmation of Enrollment form (COE), their passport (be sure the passport will remain valid until 6 months after the return to the U.S), a major credit card (to pay the application fee) and the ability to print the confirmation. During the online visa application process (or on your visa application form), you will be asked for the number that appears in the upper-right hand corner of the COE.
Australia Visa Information
Please note: You will not receive your COE from your host institution until after you have enrolled in the Australian Health Insurance, OSHC. Your host university will send you information about how to apply for OSHC.
The cost of the visa is AUD620 as of January 2021.
- Australian Government Visa Website
- ACU Student Visa Page
- RMIT Student Visa Page
- ISEP Student Visa Page
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A student visa (VITEM-IV) is required for study in Brazil. The process of gathering the appropriate documents and applying for the visa can take six to eight weeks, so begin early! Under NO circumstances should you apply for a tourist visa. Tourist visas are valid for only 90 days and cannot be extended. Once you decide to study in Brazil, you need to apply for the Student Visa in your home country. There is no way to change your visa status after you have arrived in Brazil.
Brazil Visa Information
You must obtain the visa from the Brazilian consulate in your area of jurisdiction and in some cases a personal visit to the consulate may be required. You should apply for a visa from the consulate whose area of jurisdiction includes your permanent residence. If this is not possible or is very inconvenient, you may request that the consulate within the area of jurisdiction of your home institution accept and process your visa application.
In order to obtain your visa, you must provide the documents as listed on the website for the Brazilian consulate in your area of jurisdiction. The Brazilian consul processing the visa reserves the right to make other requirements when deemed necessary. Important: contact the consulate in your particular area of jurisdiction to confirm the procedure.
The Brazilian authorities require International student to register their visa in the first 90 days of their arrival. Please do not forget to bring the form with you to Brazil. Without this document, you will not be able to register with the Federal Police. If you do not register by the 90th day after your arrival, you will be considered illegal in Brazil and will have to pay a daily fee until manage to go.
The cost of the visa is $160 as of August 2018
- PUC Rio visa information
- General Consulate of Brazil
- Student Visa ("VITEM IV")
- ISEP Visa Information
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Students going to Colombia are advised to obtain a student visa before departure (Category V: Visitante-Intercambio Académico/Visitor-Exchange Student). Below is a general list of what is required to obtain the visa. Most students will be required to travel to their local Consulate to receive the final visa stamp in-person. Students should contact the consulate for their jurisdiction to verify the process and documents required. Processing time once the online application form has been submitted is approximately four weeks.
Colombia Visa Information
Visit Colombia’s Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores website to review the current requirements for obtaining a student visa.
Basic documents required for the Category V Exchange Student Visa:
- Completed Electronic Visa Application form. Consult the Guía de Usuario: Solicitud de Visa Online Individual for instructions about how to fill out the online application.
- Valid Passport in good condition and with a minimum of two blank pages for visas and valid for three months beyond the end of your program.
- Two (2) recent 3x3 photographs, facing the camera, in color and against a white background.
- An Acceptance letter from the Colombian school or university that specifies length of your studies (must be notarized in Colombia) – Your host institution will send this to you after you complete their internal application.
- Letter from the Colombian university that specifies that the applicant will attend a minimum of ten hours weekly – Your host institution will send this to you after you complete their internal application.
- A school’s certificate of legal existence issued by a competent authority in Colombia – Your host institution will send this to you after you complete their internal application.
- Proof of sufficient financial resources to cover your expenses while in Colombia
- Visa fees: The fees will vary depending on your home country, and can be paid online or at the consulate on the day of your visa appointment.
Note: According to the V Student Visa page of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Relations, “passport holders from visa-exempt countries or territories, determined by Resolution 5488 of 2022, will be exempt from processing this type of visa as long as their stay in Colombia does not exceed 180 calendar days. This means that students can enter to the country without Visa but with an entry permit that is valid for 90 days and must be renewed with immigration. The problem with this permit is that you will not have a foreigner's ID card, which allows you to have all the facilities that a Colombian citizen has. Therefore, students are advised to apply for a student visa before entering Colombia. According to one university in Colombia, "It is the best option, but it’s not mandatory."
- Online Colombia visa application system and walkthrough guide (in Spanish)
- Consulate of Colombia in Houston (with jurisdiction over Louisiana and full time Loyola students)
- Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Quick Visa Guide
- ISEP Colombia Country Handbook - Visa section
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Ecuador Visa Information
You must apply for a Temporary Resident Student Visa (12 V). Students should begin the process of contacting their local consulate to confirm specific requirements and begin to collect the required paperwork at least 2-3 months prior to their departure for Ecuador! Students must register with the Virtual Consulate of Ecuador to start the visa application process. Most students will be required to have an in-person interview at the Ecuadorian Consulate for their jurisdiction.
Each consulate has slightly different paperwork and application requirements. You should follow the specific requirements given by your consulate exactly. Your local Ecuadorian consulate is the official source of all visa information. If you have questions regarding the student visa application, you must contact your local Ecuadorian consulate. ISEP cannot contact consulates on behalf of students.
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France Visa Information
All U.S. students studying in France for more than 90 days must obtain a student visa prior to departing for France and French overseas departments. The process is 3 pronged:
- Campus France: You must first create and complete an application with Campus France. Students may start the Campus France application as soon as they have received their official acceptance letter. It is strongly recommended that students begin the process at the earliest possible time in the event of unforeseeable delays. (Note: Campus France recommends using a Firefox browser on a PC only. If you are having problems with the application, try another browser or computer. Campus France also recommends applying with a personal email address, not your .edu email address.)
- Complete the France visa application online.
- Submit your complete visa application and supporting documents to the VFS application center (VAC) within 90 days prior to the program start date. Appointments are required.
ALL students should begin the visa process as soon as possible as appointments at the VFS center can fill up! It can take several weeks for the consulate to issue the visa, depending on your jurisdiction. Students should verify estimated wait times with their specific consulates and plan accordingly.
- Campus France - French Visa Application Overview
- Campus France Student Visa Guidelines
- France Visa Information
- ISEP Country and Visa Information
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Germany Visa Information
US Citizens do not need a visa to study in Germany but may apply for their residence permit after entering Germany without a visa. Nevertheless, within 90 days, you will have to go to the "Ausländerbehörde" (foreigners' registration office) of the city of Dortmund to apply for a visa. The staff of the International Office will be there to assist you and already make appointments for you at the Ausländerbehörde in advance.
Remember that you will have to show sufficient funds when applying for the visa.
- German Visa Information (Government website)
- ISEP Country and Visa Information
- Dortmund University Website
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Ireland Visa Information
US Citizens do not need a visa to enter Ireland but will need to present the Maynooth University offer letter to Immigration at the port of entry. Please ensure you have your letter with you in your carry-on bag when boarding your airplane!
Even though U.S. citizens do not need a visa to study in Ireland, you will need to register with the local police department/immigration after you have registered as a student at the University. You can find more information on the Maynooth Visa Page and on the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service website.
- Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service website
- Visa and Non-Visa Required Nationalities
- Maynooth’s Visa Page
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Italy Visa InformationU.S. citizens need to obtain a student visa prior to departure in order to study in Italy if their program is more than 90 days. Currently (as of the date listed below), you must apply for a visa through the Italian Consulate with jurisdiction over your school address, not your permanent address. That means that as of all Loyola students should apply through the Italian Consulate in Houston. Please check the consulate's website to make sure nothing has changed.
Consulate requirements change frequently and consulates will not accept incomplete applications or those that do not comply with each consulate's criteria. Start researching the visa process as soon as you are accepted to your program. You can typically apply for your visa 90 days in advance of departure. We recommend applying as soon as possible within that 90 day window. Processing times vary; check the Consulate's website for current processing times. Make sure your application materials are correct before submitting your application. The Consulates will not process incomplete applications and reserve the right to reject your visa request.
Note: Students enrolling in an Italian university must complete the UniversItaly procedure before submitting the visa application. If you are studying on an ISEP program, please view the ISEP Country Handbook for more information. If you are studying on the Loyola exchange/study abroad program at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, please visit the UCSC visa website for more information. If you are studying on a non-Loyola program, please ask your program if you are required to complete the UniversItaly procedure.
Students on a short-stay study visa (up to 90 days) must declare their presence in the country with the local police (Questura). Students on a long-stay study visa (more than 90 days) must apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno at the local post office within 8 working days of arrival. For this, you will need 2 copies of your passport photo, the consulate-stamped confirmation of enrollment, and proof of insurance. There is also a fee.
Once in the country
- List of Italian Consulates in USA
- Italian Consulate in Houston - Study Visa Information
- ISEP Country Handbook with overview of Italian Visa
- Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore visa information website
- NAFSA Overview of Italian Visa Requirements
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Japan Visa InformationExchange students who are not Japanese citizens must obtain ‘college student’ or other suitable visa status in order to register for courses at Sophia University. ‘College student’ visa is valid for one year and should be obtained in your home country. In order to apply for a College Student Visa, you will need the Acceptance Letter from Sophia University and CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY issued by the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau. You will submit your passport, CoE, and other documentation to apply for a study visa. You may have to attend an in-person appointment at your Japanese consulate, but some accept applications by mail.
In the United States, there are 15 Japanese consulates and one embassy in Washington, DC. Each consulate serves a specific geographic region or jurisdiction. The consulate that serves your jurisdiction is where you will apply for your Japanese student visa. Use the tool on the Japanese embassy website to determine your consulate. Each consulate may have specific instructions on applying for a Japanese student visa that may differ from other Japanese consulates. This means that your visa application requirements may differ from another student's requirements if they are applying to a different consulate. When checking the application requirements for your student visa for Japan, always refer to your consulate's website.
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Korea Visa InformationFrom April 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024, the Korean Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) is not required for US citizens for stays of 90 days or less that are for tourism or business purposes. Visa required for all other purposes, including employment, teaching English, and for stays longer than 90 days.
Semester and Full Year students must apply for a D-2 visa, not a tourist or visitor visa. Do not apply for a visa until having received an Acceptance Letter and a Certificate of Admission from the host university.
In order to apply for a visa, you must upload a financial statement showing an account balance of at lest $6,000 USD if you are studying abroad for a semester or $12,000 if you are studying abroad for a year. The required amount is subject to change according to the actual living cost every year.
Visa requirements vary by Consulate. Please check the website of your Consulate for detailed requirements. Residents of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas will apply through the Korean Consulate in Houston. If you are not a resident of one of these states, click here for your Jurisdiction Korean Consular Office, then search for that Consulate's website for their list of long-stay/D-2 visa requirements. (Note: Some Consulates have additional requirements if your university in Korea is not on the "certified universities and colleges." Both of Loyola's exchange partners, Chung-Ang University and Sogang, are on the list of certified universities and colleges.)
Most Korean consulates will accept visa applications in person or by mail. Check your Consulate website for more information. The processing time for a student visa is typically 2 weeks (not including mailing time), but varies by Consulate. Check your Consulate website for their processing times.
Once you arrive on campus in Korea, you must register at a local immigration office within 90 days from the date of entry and apply for an alien registration card. It is illegal to stay in Korea for more than 90 days without being registered, regardless of your visa at entry.
- Sogang University Visa Issuance Information
- Chung-Ang University Visa Information
- Houston Consulate Visa Information (If you are not a resident of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma or Texas, click here for your Jurisdiction Korean Consular Office.)
- ISEP Visa Guidelines
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Mexico Visa InformationU.S. citizens entering Mexico for less than 180 days do not need prior entry clearance.
U.S. citizens entering Mexico for more than 180 days or who intend to do an internship require a visa. Applications should be submitted through the appropriate Mexican consulate and luckily, there is one in New Orleans.
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The Netherlands Visa InformationU.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands but you will need a “Residence Permit.” Both of our partner institutions will apply for the Residence Permit for you once you have been admitted. You will have to submit all documents to the international office at your host institution and pay the fees for both the residence permit and for insurance.
Please be aware that you will have to show financial resources of set amounts in the application for a Residence Permit and these amounts vary for the fall and spring.
- Anticipated semester living costs at UvA.
- Anticipated semester living costs at Radboud - check this website or contact Radboud
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New Zealand Visa InformationIn order to study in New Zealand, you must apply for a "Student Visa" prior to your departure. Generally the visa is issued about two to three weeks after an application is submitted. For more information, see the Immigration New Zealand's page.
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Norway Visa InformationAll international students need a residence permit if they intend to stay in Norway for more than three months.
The cost of the visa is $650 as of August 2018
- ISEP Country and Visa Information
- Norwegian Visa Information (Visa Service)
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Spain Visa InformationIf you are not an EU citizen, then you must obtain a student visa if in Spain for more than 90 days. It is important to start this process early, before you are accepted because it can take months to secure your visa. For students staying over 180 days, most consulates require an FBI Background Check or State Police Records. For quicker processing of FBI background checks, we recommend using a FBI-Approved Channeler such as FieldPrint at 5500 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115.
Students will need to enroll in a supplemental Spanish insurance policy that meets the requirements for the Spanish visa. Details can be found here: http://oncampus.es/index.php?route=common/home
You are required to apply through the consulate assigned to your permanent residence or school address. Currently, the Spanish Consulate in Houston will accept applications by mail. Please check the consulate website to make sure nothing has changed. Visit https://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/houston/en/ServiciosConsulares/Paginas/Consular/Visado-de-estudios.aspx for a list of requirements and detailed application procedures.
If you apply at a different consulate, an in-person appointment may be required. You should reserve your appointment a minimum of five months in advance of departure for Spain, or as early as possible. You can reserve your visa appointment before you have assembled all required documentation. When making an appointment, check with your local consulate the earliest they will accept your visa application, as at many consulates you may not apply for your visa more than three months (90 days) in advance of the start of your program.
Each consulate has slightly different paperwork requirements but remember that you need your official letter of acceptance from your host university or ISEP plus other requirements before you can apply for a visa. On your consulate’s webpage you will find a checklist of needed documents, specific to your application. Follow the requirements given by your consulate exactly. Consulate requirements change frequently and consulates will not accept incomplete applications or those that do not comply with each consulate's criteria.
Note: While it is possible to apply for a student visa from within Spain (instead of applying prior to departure for Spain), it does not come without some serious potential risk. You would enter on a tourist visa and then go through the visa application process once in-country. The risk is that the Spanish authorities always have the right to deny a visa for whatever reason they deem. So there is a possibility you could enter on a tourist visa, start your academic program, end up being denied in-country for a short-stay or long-stay student visa, and then be required to leave at the 90 day mark after having already started your classes. While the denial rate is reportedly low, but it cannot be completely eliminated.
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Swiss Visa Information
Visit the website of the Swiss Embassy and Consulates to determine where you should apply. Each Consulate will have a detailed list of requirements for the student visa on their website.
The Swiss visa desks do not typically accept walk-ins. Each individual applicant requires an appointment. The waiting time for an appointment may be up to 5 weeks, especially during the high season in summer or during the holiday season. Applicants are therefore advised to book their appointments as early as possible. Making an appointment is free of charge.
Prior to making your appointment, you are strongly advised to read the requirements relating to the visa type you wish to apply for and prepare the requested application form and all the supporting documents in advance. Please note that only complete applications will be processed. Should the application be incomplete, a new appointment will be needed in order to resubmit the application. Please refer to the Embassy or Consulate's website for detailed information.
Turkey Visa Information
You can apply for your e-visa online or at your Turkish port of entry. CIE strongly urges you to obtain your visa prior to departure to ensure you have proper documentation. It is also cheaper to apply online ($50 as of 11/12/20). To apply online, click the link below and select U.S.A. and "Ordinary Passport." On the following page, be sure to enter the targeted date of arrival to Turkey. Then complete the application and payment processes as directed.
Depending on your program, your host institution may or may not provide assistance in obtaining the Residence Permit. Koç University does provide assistance - you simply need to provide them with the necessary documents (listed in the Koç website linked below). If your host institution does not provide assistance, you must complete an online form (link below) and then go to a scheduled in-person interview/appointment at a local government office.
Please note: Turkey requires your passport be valid for at least 60 days after the end of your program.
- Turkey E-Visa Application System website
- Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Visa Information for Foreigners
- Residence Permit application website
- ISEP Turkey Country Handbook - Visa section
- Koç University Pre-Arrival page (scroll down to Visa, Residence and Health Insurance section)
UK Visa InformationYou need a visa to study in the UK but the process and type vary depending on your length of stay.
For programs lasting less than 6 months, U.S. citizens do not need to apply for a visa prior to arrival in the UK, but you will need to provide required documents at your UK port of entry. Other nationalities can check the Standard Visitor Visa website to see if they will need to apply in advance. You cannot work on or extend a Standard Visitor Visa.
Note: In late 2024, the UK will adopt a new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme. Once implemented, U.S. citizens (and other nationalities) studying for less than 6 months in the UK will need to use the ETA process. Carriers will check before individuals board to make sure the ETA is applied for and successful; though as always, it will be each traveler's responsibility. See this website for more information.
For programs lasting more than 6 months (or if your program lasts less than 6 months but you want to be work eligible), you will have to obtain a Student Visa prior to departure. You CANNOT apply for this visa upon arrival–you must obtain it prior to your departure. You can apply as early as 6 months before arrival in the UK. You should apply as early as possible. Processing times are currently delayed due to COVID-19 and the crisis in Ukraine. Apply online at https://www.gov.uk/student-visa/apply. You will need to submit biometric information for the UK visa at a visa application center.
Very important: While it may be cheaper to fly to the UK through the Republic of Ireland, we strongly advise against this for students traveling to the UK. There is no passport control between Ireland and the UK which means students who arrive via this route will not have the required UK documentation in their passports and will not legally be in the UK. This will cause delays to starting study and students will incur additional expenses for trips out of the UK and back to validate their travel documents.
- UK government website
- ISEP Country Handbook, Visa Guidelines
- University of East Anglia, Visa websites
- University of Birmingham Visa website
- London Met Visa website
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Vietnam Visa InformationYou need a visa to study in the Vietnam. A Vietnamese student visa application can be submitted anytime from 6 months-3 months prior to departure. Do not delay as visas to Vietnam are slow to process.
- Acceptance letter from the host university in Vietnam
- Original Passport - The passport needs to have at least 1 month validity prior the date of exit from Vietnam and/or 6 month validity to meet airlines' requirements). You can request a loose-leaf visa, then a copy of your passport (photo and personal detail pages) may be submitted instead of the original passport.
- Visa Application Form - The form must be completed, signed and attached with 1 original passport size photo (2x 2in) . In the case of a loose-leaf-visa request, 2 original passport sized photos must be stapled to the form. If the applicant has already got a visa approval, she/he may write the reference number on the top of the form. For anyone who comes to Vietnam for less than 3 months and does not have visa approval, just leave "visa approval number" blank and the Embassy will take care of it. (Additional processing fees for visa approval may be required.)
- Visa Fee - The visa fee must be in the form of MONEY ORDER, CASHIER'S CHECK, or CERTIFIED CHECK payable to "THE EMBASSY OF VIETNAM." Check the Vietnamese Consular website, email email@example.com, or call 202 - 861 -- 0737 for the most up-to-date visa cost information.
- A prepaid return envelope - If the applicant requests the visa be returned by mail. Please use USPS - United States Postal Service (prepaid postage stamp envelope or return label bought online at www.usps.com ) or prepaid return FedEx label ( bought online at www.fedex.com - The Embassy does not accept credit cards for FedEx mailing service). For your documents' safety, the Embassy advises to use USPS Express Mail or FedEx with the tracking numbers. For international shipping, please pay in the form of money order payable to the Embassy of Vietnam.
General Processing Time: If the student visa application is submitted directly in person, processing will take approximately 7-10 business days. If the student visa application is NOT submitted directly in person, processing will take approximately 5 weeks.
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