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. Keep in mind students are responsible for applying for a passport independently and we cannot provide advising on this, but if they are working with a program, the program may offer some advising and have more insight on this process.

  • 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 (which you would obtain from the Rice Registrar), 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.

Keep in mind, when it comes to visa matters, as with passports, we may have general information, but we are not permitted to advise on this, as we do not have the adequate qualifications or background and cannot advise individually as each student has different circumstances. 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.