All students must have a current and valid passport to participate in an international program. Passport validity length requirements can vary by country, citizenship, and visa type, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that their passport is valid for the appropriate period of time based on the relevant requirements.In most cases, a visa will be stamped inside or affixed to your passport. Most consulates require you to submit your passport along with your visa application, so please plan accordingly.
Students may need a visa to participate in an international program. Students are responsible for contacting the Global Experience Office (GEO) for support regarding foreign visa requirements. For visa support and guidance for international programs, please contact a GEO Advisor.
For further information, please review the information below or refer to the Passport & Visa Guide.
All students traveling abroad are required to have a valid passport, as in most cases, a passport is used to certify your nationality and allows you to travel to and from foreign countries.
If you don’t already have a valid passport, you should apply for one as soon as you decide to participate in a global program. This process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the time of year when you apply.
If you already have a passport, be sure to check the expiration date, as countries often require your passport to be valid for several months after the completion of your program. Requirements for passport validity lengths vary by country and citizenship, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your passport is valid for the appropriate period of time.
A visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter and stay for a specified period of time – and for a specified purpose – in a country. Visa application requirements and processing times vary by country, citizenship, and consulate.
You may need a visa to participate in a global program. You are responsible for contacting GEO for support regarding foreign visa requirements. Please visit the Contact page on the website to locate the appropriate GEO Advisor for your program.
If you need a visa, you should apply as soon as possible. Please be advised that visa application procedures and required supporting documentation can vary greatly between consulates and can often depend on the citizenship of the applicant, so please plan accordingly.
Jurisdiction: Many embassies, consulates, and missions have jurisdictional requirements for visa applications and only serve residents of their jurisdictions. Please ensure that you are applying for your visa through the consulate, embassy, or mission that serves the jurisdiction where you are a permanent resident or where you maintain residency during the academic year. For further information on consulate-specific jurisdictional requirements, please consult with the appropriate consular authority directly.
Consular Appointments: You may need to visit a consulate in-person to submit your visa application and may need to undergo a consular interview. Many consulates will require you to appear in-person in order to process your visa application. Please consult with the relevant consulate to confirm if this is required. If so, please note that it is imperative that you book a consulate appointment as soon as possible. Additionally, please note that consular appointments are quite fluid and are at the sole discretion of the consular authority, so if you are unable to obtain an appointment that is suitable for your time frame, you may need to check the consular booking system site several times in order to reschedule for an alternate appointment date.
Processing Timeframes: Processing times can vary and are at the sole discretion of the consulate. Any estimated processing times are general guidelines from the date of application submission, and are subject to change at the discretion of the consulate. For this reason, it is recommended that you apply as soon as you are able to do so. Please be advised that you will likely be required to surrender your passport and supporting documents to the consulate for the entirety of the time that your application in process, so please plan accordingly.
International Students: Please be advised that some consulates and embassies may require that your F-1 visa be valid for a period of time past your date of departure from your host country when applying for a visa. A general best practice is to ensure that your F-1 visa is valid for at least 6 months past the end date of your program abroad, although in some cases, a longer validity may be required. Please consult directly with the relevant consulate or embassy for further information on these requirements. It is the responsibility of any international student to check with the Office of Global Services prior to departing for his or her international program for any information relating to his or her visa status in the U.S. and information related to re-entry at the close of your program abroad.
Disclaimer: Any information relating to foreign visas is provided as general information and is for reference only. GEO does not process or issue visas for students. It is the responsibility of the student to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa in a timely manner.
US Citizens: When applying for a passport for the first time, you have to submit your application in person. Everything you need to know about U.S. passports (how to apply, how to expedite a passport application, and how to renew your passport) is on the following website: U.S. Passports and International Travel
International Students: Please consult directly with your home country passport processing agency for further information on the procedure for renewing a passport.
Information on visa requirements for most study abroad programs can often be found through the relevant consular website, and through the university or program where you are intending to study while abroad. Contact your GEO Advisor if you need additional support.
For information relating to Dialogue of Civilizations programs, you should first contact your faculty leader and then your GEO Advisor for further information.
For information relating to Global Co-op, you should first contact your Co-op Coordinator and then your GEO Advisor for further information.
Many consulates will require you to appear in-person in order to process your visa application. Please consult with the relevant consulate to confirm if you are required to either submit your application and/or retrieve your visa in-person. If you are required to attend an appointment in-person, please note that it is imperative that you book a date and time as soon as possible.
Please book the earliest available appointment. Consular appointments are quite fluid and at the discretion of the consular authority, so if you are unable to obtain an appointment that is suitable for your time frame, you may need to check the consular booking system site several times in order to obtain an alternate appointment.
Many embassies, consulates, and missions have jurisdictional requirements for visa applications and only serve residents of their jurisdictions. Please ensure that you are applying for your visa through the consulate, embassy, or mission that serves the jurisdiction where you are a permanent resident or where you maintain residency during the academic year. For further information on consulate-specific jurisdictional requirements, please consult with the appropriate consular website directly.
Please start this process as soon as possible, as it can take up to 16 weeks to obtain this clearance. For information on the FBI background check process, please consult with the FBI Identity Summary website directly.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents may want to consider utilizing a channeler to expedite the process. Further information on using a channeler can be found on the FBI Approved Channeler List. Please note that use of a channeler may incur a fee, payable directly to the channeler; you should consult directly with the channeler for pricing and timeframe information.
No, all consulates and embassies do not require the same supporting documentation. In fact, not only do the supporting document requirements vary by country, but they can also vary by individual consulate. Please be sure to consult directly with the consulate with jurisdiction over your residency for the appropriate guidance on supporting documents.
Typically, your GEO Advisor is able to provide support and guidance as to the appropriate visa category for your global experience.
If you would like assistance in filling out your application or collecting your supporting documents, you might consider utilizing a visa facilitation service. Although Northeastern University does not officially endorse any visa facilitation companies, here are a few options should you decide to employ facilitation services:
The cost of applying for a visa can vary based on country, citizenship, and visa type. Please consult with the relevant consulate directly for up-to-date information on costs.
Visa processing times vary greatly, so you should apply as early as possible. GEO recommends beginning the visa process 8-12 weeks prior to your intended departure. Please note that this recommendation is fluid and that some visas may take longer than this time frame.
Additionally, please check the application processing time frames on the appropriate consular website very carefully. Please note that any time frames indicated on consular websites are for reference only and are only from the point of submission (meaning it does not include the time taken to gather supporting documentation, book an appointment, or return your documents at the completion of processing). Processing time is at the sole discretion of the consulate.
The procedures that you will follow may be different from those for U.S. citizens. Please consult directly with your GEO Advisor and the appropriate consulate for further guidance. It is important to initiate the visa process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy processing procedures. Additionally, it is your responsibility to check with the Office of Global Services prior to departing for your international program for any information relating to your visa status in the U.S.