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.
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
- Turkey Visa Information
- UK Visa Information
Argentina Visa InformationAll students studying in Argentina for more than 90 days will be required to obtain a student visa. You will enter the country as a tourist and then switch to the student visa once in Argentina. You must enter the country on a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the last date of studies. According to the latest regulations, only students who plan to stay in Argentina for longer than six months must begin collecting specific documents to prepare for the student visa process prior to departing for Argentina (see below).
IMPORTANT: Occasionally airlines do not seem to be aware of the process of entering Argentina as a tourist and then switching to a student visa once in-country, and so student can sometimes be denied boarding at the airport. It is a good idea to bring a copy of the visa section of the ISEP Country Handbook and the regulations surrounding this process to the airport in case it is necessary to verify Argentina’s official policy with airline personnel.
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
Back to top
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
Back to top
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
Back to top
BECAUSE VISA REQUIREMENTS CAN VARY BY CONSULATE, PLEASE CONFIRM THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WITH YOUR CONSULATE OF JURISDICTION.
Colombia Visa Information
Typically, U.S. citizens on Study Abroad programs less than 180 days and who do not intend to work in Colombia do not need to apply for a visa in advance. Instead, they can obtain a 90-day Entry and Permanence Visa (a.k.a. PIP -- Permiso de Ingreso y Permanencia) at their port of entry and renew it at some point for another 90 days. If your Consulate of Jurisdiction says you can apply for the PIP at your point of entry, you will need to present 1) your official program acceptance letter, and 2) your program's certificate of registration with the Colombian educational authority.
If your program is longer than 180 days, if your Consulate of Jurisdiction says you must apply for a visa stateside, or if you intend to do an internship abroad, you must apply for a Type V visa for Student Exchange. You can apply and pay the application fee ($16 as of 11/18/20) online via the link below.
From the Colombian Chancellory website regarding Type V visa applications: All required documents (other than identity documents such as a passport) must have an issue date no later than three months from the date of your visa application registration. Furthermore, all documents from abroad must have apostille or legalization and official translation into Spanish, and the translation must be legalized or apostilled according to the case. Only bank statement documents may be without apostille and without translation if the content can be clearly established and understood by the visa officer.
Once your visa application has been approved and you pay the issuance fee ($51 as of 11/18/20), an email will be sent to the address you listed on your application. Then the visa stamping can be done at the Consulate of Colombia where you filed your application, or at the Office in Bogotá, Avenida 19 No. 98-03, Edifice Torre 100.
- 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
Back to top
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.
Back to top
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.
- 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 Application Guide
- How to Apply for a Student Visa pdf
- France Visa Information
- ISEP Country and Visa Information
Back to top
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
Back to top
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.
Back to top
Italy Visa InformationU.S. citizens need to obtain a student visa prior to departure in order to study in Italy. You must apply for a visa through the Italian Consulate with jurisdiction over your permanent residence, not your school address. Please note that each consulate may differ slightly in its application requirements for the visa. The consulate’s website should indicate visa requirements, whether an in-person appointment is necessary, and hours of business. Consulate appointments fill quickly so you must make an appointment in advance.
Make sure that you show up to your appointment with all of the required documentation. It has been our experience that consulate requirements change frequently and that 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 ISEP program. Students holding visas are required to enter Italy within 60 days of the issuance of the visa. Remember to ask how long your relevant consulate takes to process the applications, so that you will not submit it too early or too late. Student visas are generally valid for the duration of your program.
All questions regarding the visa should be directed to the consulate. CIE cannot contact consulates on behalf of students.
For students applying for the spring semester, or for students within the Houston district, you can work with the Honorary Consulate in New Orleans, if closer to the student's home, to have your signature notarized on the application and then mail the application to the consulate for processing. This saves you the expense of a personal appointment.
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
- ISEP Country Handbook with overview of Italian Visa
- NAFSA Overview of Italian Visa Requirements
Back to top
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.
Back to top
Korea Visa InformationStudents on programs that last fewer than 90 days, including summer programs, can enter the country without a visa, as long as they have a valid passport from the U.S. or another country with visa waiver agreements. Students from countries that don't have a visa waiver agreement may need to apply for a D-2-8 short-term study visa.
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.
Once you arrive on campus, 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
- Hi Korea Portal with information on visas
- ISEP Visa Guidelines
Back to top
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.
Back to top
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. See the university websites below for detailed information on the process.
Back to top
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.
Back to top
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
Back to top
Spain Visa InformationIf you are not an EU citizen, then you must obtain a student visa prior to departure if in Spain for more than 90 days, then all. 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. (See here for information on FBI background checks.
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 typically required to apply in person at the consulate assigned to your permanent residence, and in many cases these in-person visa interviews are by appointment only. If required, you should reserve your visa 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, a certification of insurance from CIE, 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. Your local Spanish consulate is the official source of all visa information. If you have questions regarding the student visa application, you must contact your local Spanish consulate.
Back to top
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, you 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. However, CIE strongly recommends getting proper documentation prior to departure. If you want to do that, you will apply for the Short-Term Study Visa. You cannot work at all during that time, and you cannot extend this visa once you receive it.
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.
Start planning your visa application early - make sure that you have the required document and proof of the required funds.
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
Back to top
Click here to return to Study Abroad in 10 Simple Steps