Passports & Visas

Obtain/renew a U.S. passport

A passport is your official identification as a citizen of the United States. If you don't already have a valid passport, apply for one immediately. If you do own a passport, check its expiration date; many countries require that it remain valid for up to six months after the date of your return to the U.S.

  • 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 after your return to the U.S.
  • Passport applications can take four to eight weeks to process. Check current processing times.
  • 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 in pen on the signature line on the page opposite the ID page.
  • Safeguard it as you would any other valuable.
  • Upload a scan of the ID page to the Rice Study Abroad online application.
  • Make several copies of the ID page for ease of replacement if lost or stolen. Keep a copy with you in a safe place separate from your passport, and leave a copy with a family member or friend.

Lost passports

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


Students are responsible for applying for a visa to enter their host country with the guidance of their host university/program. Generally, students should plan to apply as soon as they receive their acceptance letter and instructions from their study abroad program. Visa requirements will vary by country; the application may request proof of enrollment at Rice, bank statements or other financial records, and insurance coverage, among other items. An in-person interview at the country's local consulate may also be required.

Further information about visa requirements can be found on the website of your host country's consulate. Non-U.S. citizens should be aware that visa requirements may be different based on their country of citizenship.