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Visa Information

What is a Visa?

What is a Visa? A visa is passport stamp or document that authorizes the passport holder to enter a country for a specific purpose and particular period of time. Every country has different visa policies and arrangements with every other country. Different types of visas are available for different purposes; common types include tourist visas, student visas, or business visas. Different visas last for different durations of time. Visas are issued through the embassy or consulate of the appropriate host country. The process is extensive and can take up to eight weeks (or more) to receive your visa. To avoid early expiration, the consulate will issue your visa no more than 90 days prior to your program's departure.

Program-Specific Visa Information

Students attending the Florence, Lausanne, London, or Shanghai program during the Academic Year are required to have a visa prior to traveling abroad. Students attending Shanghai, Florence, and Lausanne during the Fall or the Spring are required to obtain a visa as well. For students participating in the Buenos Aires and Heidelberg Academic Year programs, visas will be obtained after arrival to the program. The Buenos Aires and Heidelberg program directors will assist students in the process of applying for the proper visa. In addition, students studying in Buenos Aires for the Academic Year, Fall, Spring, and Summer are required to complete a reciprocity process prior to departure. Information regarding this process can be obtained in the International Programs Office. Shanghai GE and Internship, and London Internship require visas for the Summer term as well. If your program requires a visa, you will be provided with more information at the MANDATORY Visa Workshop hosted by the IP Office. 

International Students

Students who are NOT traveling on a U.S. passport will be subject to different visa requirements. It is the student's responsibility to research, apply for, and obtain the necessary visas for the country they are studying in, and all countries they plan to travel to, including the country for the educational field trip. As early as possible, students should visit the website of the host country foreign embassy or consulate located in the U.S. to obtain information about visa requirements and application timeframes. The foreign embassy or consulate in the U.S. may instruct the student to apply for the visa at the foreign embassy or consulate in the student's home country instead, or in some cases, may allow the student to submit the visa application in the U.S. but obtain the visa at the consular post abroad.

Some students may encounter difficulty because of their immigration status in the U.S. Therefore, as early as possible, students must also obtain information regarding the validity of their U.S. visa and/or status. If the F-1 visa in the student's passport has expired or will expire before the student plans to return to the U.S. after completion of study abroad, immediate consultation with the Office of International Student Services (OISS) is recommended. Students who are in the U.S. in a nonimmigrant status other than F-1 (such as E-2, H-4, L-2, etc.), or who are in pending immigrant status, should obtain counsel from their immigration attorney to ensure their ability to return to the U.S. after completion of study abroad. In any event, international students must always consult the OISS before departing the U.S.

International students participating in any Lausanne International Program may or may not have to travel to the Swiss Consulate in San Francisco, CA to obtain their visa.