The Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) will try to assist you with the visa application process; however, it is your responsibility to identify, apply for and obtain the appropriate visa in a timely manner. OGO does not process or issue visas for students. While this website is periodically reviewed and updated, you must check with the appropriate consulate for the most accurate information. All visa application regulations are imposed by the host country, not OGO.
What is a Visa?
A visa is an official entry/residency permit granted by the immigration authorities of your host country which allows you to maintain residence for an extended period of time. It is important to understand the visa requirements for ALL countries that you plan to visit. There are different types of visas such as tourist, student and work. Be sure to clarify which type of visa you will need based on your program type. The type of visa that you obtain may require you to leave the country before a certain date or forbid you from performing work, whether voluntary or for money.
The physical visa itself is usually a stamp or document attached to your passport. For this reason,you will need a passport before applying for your visa so that you can mail it in with the associated paperwork. This is why some programs may require you to have a passport at the time of application. The visa and passport process may take three to four months, so start early. Also make sure that your passport will be valid for at least 6 months after your planned return date. (A U.S. passport is valid for 10 years for citizens over the age of 16 when the passport was issued and for 5 years for those who were younger than 16.) However, visa regulations change often, so check with the appropriate embassy/consulate of your host country.
How do I get a visa?
Visas are issued by the government of the host country. You must submit an application to receive a visa by following the very specific requirements of that country. The granting of visas is always at the discretion of the host country and they may deny an application at any time. The cost of and requirements for obtaining a visa vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for ALL countries you plan to visit while abroad. This includes countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can find this information by checking the website of the US-based embassy for the countries you will be visiting or by checking the State Department website. (Visit www.embassiesabroad.com for a link to the website of the appropriate embassy.)
Did you know...?
- You may be denied entry into, or be deported from a country for which you have not obtained the required visa. The Office of Global Opportunities and Ohio University are not responsible for obtaining your visa nor are they in any way responsible for your visa or entry denial.
- For some countries, certain medical requirements must be met before a visa will be issued.
- For some countries, you may be denied visa if you have any type of police report or criminal record.
- Length of study, program of study, and other activities all determine what kind of visa, if any, is needed.
- All consulates work on a per jurisdiction basis, meaning that they divide the U.S. into regions. Your jurisdiction is determined by your permanent address, so make sure you are aware of which jurisdiction you fall under.
Many consulates will want to know if you have paid-in-full for the program before you are granted a visa. The OGO can write a letter to confirm payment of your program costs for students participating on OHIO sponsored programs, if requested. Some countries may require you to provide proof of funds to support yourself while in country for the entire period (i.e. bank statements, financial aid award letter, etc.)
You will most likely need a letter of admission from your home university or host institution, proof of study abroad insurance, proof of funds, and possibly other documents to apply for your visa. OGO can provide you with a letter to confirm your status as an OHIO student if that is required. All necessary documents must be turned in to OGO before we can provide this letter.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy of the countries you will visit to learn of your visa requirements. (Visit www.embassiesabroad.com for a link to the website of the appropriate embassy.) The procedures that you follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to start this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.
Timeline and Processing considerations:
- Most countries have a limit on how early you can apply for a visa. In most cases, visa applications will not be considered more than 90 days prior to entry into host country.
- In most cases, students must apply from their host country. This means if you are planning pre-program travel or are planning back-to-back programs AND you will not be in the U.S. 3 months prior to arrival in your host country, you may have issues securing your visa. Start researching early.
- You may be required to appear in person to apply for your visa. This could require multiple trips to the consulate which has jurisdiction over your state of residence. Other consulates will allow you to apply by mail. It is always advisable to use an Express Service via insured mail with a tracking number. (Again check with the specific consulate for details. Some may require UPS while others may permit only FedEx.) Do NOT send your visa application through regular mail as you risk losing your passport and other important documents.
*This process can be a lengthy one. Even when you follow instructions promptly, you may not receive prompt responses from consular officials. Be sure to start the process early.
If you are short on time, there are various visa agencies that will assist you in expediting the visa process. These companies generally charge a significant fee on top of the cost of obtaining the visa. You will still be required to provide the Visa Agency with all the necessary documents.
*Note: These companies are NOT affiliated with nor endorsed by Ohio University in any manner; however, they are commonly used companies for visa processing services. You are encouraged to explore websites and reviews before deciding on which to use.
Due to the ever-changing nature of visa requirements, OGO staff can only offer very limited information regarding the procedures for applying for your visa. Information may change without our office being notified. For the most up-to-date information, check here for links to the appropriate consular website.