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Obtaining a passport and visa


If you do not already have a valid passport, apply for one immediately.

  • A passport is your official identification as a citizen of the United States.
  • Passport applications can take four to eight weeks to process. Check current processing times.
  • A passport is valid for 10 years for citizens who were 16 or older when the passport was issued and valid for five years for those younger than 16 when issued.
  • Your passport must be valid at least six months beyond your return to the U.S.
  • Apply in person at a U.S. Post Office if this is your first passport or if your most recent passport was issued when you were younger than 16.
  • Apply by mail to renew a passport.

When you receive your passport:

  • Sign it in ink, and fill in the address and notification data in pencil.
  • Guard it as you would any other valuable.
  • Make several copies of the official page for ease of replacement if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Submit/upload a copy to the Rice Study Abroad Office via the online study abroad application.
  • Keep one copy with you in a safe place separate from your passport.
  • Leave one copy with a family member or friend.
  • Scan and keep a copy for your records.

Lost your passport?

If your passport is lost or stolen, report it immediately to the nearest passport agency or by calling the US State Department at 1-877-487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793).


For many study abroad programs, students must obtain a visa from the host country granting official permission to enter. Visa requirements depend on the laws of the country to which you travel and can be influenced by the length of time abroad, your country of citizenship, and other factors. Students are encouraged to apply for a visa early to provide ample time for processing.

Below is a list of possible visa requirements:

  • Valid passport
  • Originals and/or copies of the acceptance letter from your home institution, program provider, or institution overseas
  • Proof that you will be enrolled as a full-time student
  • Proof that you are a degree-seeking student at your home institution
  • Proof of round-trip airfare
  • Evidence of insurance coverage
  • Copies of bank statements
  • Copies of financial aid award letters
  • Copies of parent’s income tax
  • Letter from your doctor on letterhead
  • Notarized documents

Please keep in mind that these are not all requirements for a student visa and that you are responsible for carefully researching the specific website for the consulate where you will be processing your visa for a full list of prerequisites as this varies for different locations. U.S. citizens may also consult the U.S. Department of State website for entry requirements. If you are an international student, you can visit your home country’s equivalent institution.