Passports & Visas

All students must have a valid passport and, in most cases, have received a visa in order to study abroad. Please review the information below for more directions.




United States citizens:


If you need to apply for a new passport or renew an expired one, you should visit the website for instructions.  You must use the passport book while studying abroad. Basic processing takes between 4 and 6 weeks.


Most new applicants submit a passport application at a local full-service post office for basic processing.  However, the San Diego Passport Agency in downtown San Diego offers expedited service if needed. Passports will be issued within 5 business days of applying at the agency.


International Students:

All SDSU international degree-seeking students must use their home country passport when studying abroad.  You should meet with an International Student Advisor in the International Student Center to discuss immigration matters.  U.S. permanent residents will also use their current passports.




A visa is an official document that allows each traveler to legally enter and stay in a foreign country for given period of time.  Visas are issued by the host country and therefore each student upon acceptance into a study abroad program must apply for one.  Most commonly, the visa is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport.


Visit the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Visas for Education Abroad webpage for more directions. It is each student’s responsibility to review the necessary consulate or embassy website for directions on applying for a visa.  Apply as early as allowed because processing can take anywhere from a few days to months.

The U.S. Department of State has an Americans Traveling Abroad alphabetical list of countries with specific entry requirements and background information.

Each consulate requires different materials from applicants, but generally these include a completed application form, photos, fee, program acceptance letter, proof of funds and housing.  In some cases, a criminal background check is also required.  Some countries only require a local or state police report, while others specifically require an FBI background check.


Visa Agents:
If allowed by the consulate, you may be able to use a visa or travel document service which can submit your visa application on your behalf.  The SDSU Education Abroad Office does not endorse or affiliate with any visa agents, but these are services that you might consider:


Zierer Visa Service


Express Travel Services, Inc