Visas for Non-U.S. Citizens Advisory for Students Carrying Passports other than the United States of America
If you are not a US citizen and are applying for a spring term abroad program, please be advised that it is your responsibility to go to the Consular/Visa Services section of your country of destination's website in order to determine if you are required to apply for a visa. There is no general rule for citizenships of origin or countries of destination, so do not assume just because the person sitting next to you doesn't need a visa that you don't either! Each consulate is going to have its own set of rules and lists of which nationalities are exempt from a visa. Even if you are a US permanent resident, because you do not have US citizenship, you need to go to the consular websites to determine if you need to apply for a visa.
Students on DACA or asylees should determine not only if you need a visa, but what US government requirements there are in order for you to travel outside of the US and return.
Those of you under 18 will likely have extra document requirements requiring your parents/guardians' signature.
The only ‘group visa' is a Schengen visa, which covers 26 countries in Europe, but NOT all countries in Europe. If you intend to visit more than one Schengen country, you will need to go to the Consulate of your primary activity (Spring Term Abroad) and then determine if you can also use this visa to travel to other Schengen countries or if you will need to get a different visa to travel to other Schengen or European countries.
Most country destinations for this coming spring's trips abroad have consulates in Washington, DC, with exception of Italy, whose consulate is in Philadelphia. Because you are considered ‘resident' in Virginia, most of you will be required to apply for a visa at the Washington, DC (and Philadelphia) consulates and not at other consulates that might seem closer.
For some destination countries, such as Argentina, even if you do not need to apply for a visa you may still be required to pay a ‘reciprocity fee' online PRIOR to entering Argentina. The amount of the reciprocity fee is usually the amount we would require of citizens from that country to enter the US.
You may be exempt from a visa for your destination country if you stay less than a certain number of days (anywhere from 30 to 120 days, depending on the consulate and country of citizenship). Be sure to look in the website to see if you may require a visa if you intend to remain longer than the maximum number of days without a visa.
If you then determine that you WILL REQUIRE a visa to go on your spring term trip, YOU are responsible for gathering all of the necessary documentation (per the instructions on the consulate's website), applying for the visa, and going to the Consulate if required. Some Consulates will want you to return after some weeks after you actually apply in order to pick up your passport/visa and some will allow you to provide them with a pre-paid envelope or Fedex packet to send your passport and visa back to you. This all takes A LOT OF TIME, so please make sure you 1) arrange your own travel which might require your passport so that it does not interfere with you applying for a visa, when you will have to surrender your passport and 2) apply EARLY so that the Consulate has plenty of time to process your visa and then have some additional time in case there is a complication requiring additional documentation or an additional trip to the Consulate.
The Center for International Education is happy to provide you with additional guidance after you go to your destination country's consular webpage or if you require specific documentation that we can assist you with. This office does NOT provide any type of assistance to travel to the Consulates to apply for the visa.
Questions may be directed to the Spring Term Abroad Coordinator, Latha Dawson, at email@example.com.