For nearly all semester programs and for some shorter programs, you may be required to obtain an entry or a student visa for your destination country.
Your passport may grant you entry as a tourist, often for up to 90 days, but semester programs require an additional permission, often called a visa or a residence permit. Some countries require visas for stays under 90 days as well (Brazil, China and Russia are examples of this.)
In most cases visa instructions, guidance and (in some cases) even processing will be provided by the partner organization Augustana works with for our semester programs. For faculty-led programs, your program director will assist all student participants with the visa process if one is required.
Since visa requirements and application processes vary by destination and nationality, it is important to notify both the Augustana study away office and any partner organization of your nationality early in the process of application and enrollment.
For international students, the visa process can be complicated by the fact that the destination country may not have an embassy or consular office in the U.S. capable of processing visas for students from all countries. It may be necessary, and in many cases is advised, that international students return to their home country in the months prior to the study away program in order to apply for a visa in the destination country’s embassy in the student’s home country.
Ultimately it is each student’s responsibility to determine if a visa is required to study in the host location(s), and if a visa is needed, it is also the student’s responsibility to obtain the visa. Augustana and our provider/partner organizations can assist and provide information, but it is the responsibility of each student to acquire the appropriate visa or entry documentation for the countries they plan to visit.
For students traveling on a U.S. passport, the U.S. Department of State provides general information about visa requirements by country (type your destination country into the search bar below ‘Learn about your destination’ to read about Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements).
International students are advised to contact the appropriate consulate for their destination country to learn the student visa procedures governing their nationality. Again, it may be necessary for international students seeking a student or entry visa for a new country to have to return to their home country, or to make a visit to the main embassy of the destination country (often in Washington D.C.) in order to obtain a visa. The sooner a student knows the requirements for the visa, the easier it is to plan any needed travel to obtain that visa.
General information about the visa process
A visa is a stamp or seal that is affixed inside your passport, so it is imperative that you have a passport that will be valid for the entire duration of your time abroad. Check your passport to assure that it will be valid six months past your expected program end date because many consulates require the passport to be valid this long.
Students may be required to make a personal appearance at the appropriate consulate to obtain a visa. For international students, this may not be Chicago, but may require travel to Washington D.C., or to the home country prior to the study away program.
Students traveling to multiple countries, on consecutive programs, or for an extended period of time, may have complex visa requirements and should develop a plan to address these well in advance.
Augustana programs do not include visa fees unless specifically cited in the program brochure. The student assumes all fees associated with obtaining a visa unless otherwise noted.
While not frequent, a consular office may deny your visa application, so it is best to adhere to their requirements as closely as possible.