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Visa and Residence Permit

A visa is a permission document that is usually placed in your passport that allows you to enter and remain in a country for a specified duration of time for specific purposes (i.e. tourism, study, business, etc.). It is each traveler's responsibility to know if a visa is needed and, if so, to apply for and obtain the visa.

The only authority who can definitively tell you if you do or do not need a visa is the embassy or consulate of each country that you plan to visit. The U.S. Department of State maintains a Web Site of Foreign Embassies in the U.S. 

Some countries may require you to get a residence permit instead of a visa or require you to get both. A residence permit is typically for those travelers who plan to remain in the country for a much longer duration of time. You should check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country to know the requirement.

Even if you do not need a visa prior to arriving, you should still expect to carry documents that verify your reason for traveling to the country, your ability to support yourself, and your intentions to leave the country which you can present to the immigration official upon your arrival.

Our office will provide support through the visa application process by providing you with details of your program, producing verification letters, communicating with our partners regarding any needed documents from them, and being an advocate for our students.

Know that our ability to assist you is limited to the visa office's willingness to communicate with us. Some visa offices will only communicate with the visa applicant.

When communicating with a foreign embassy or consulate, be polite, respectful, and professional. Know that they grant visas at their own discretion. You are asking them for permission to enter their country, and they are evaluating whether you are suitable to enter their country. Represent yourself well.

Know the details of your study abroad program, such as:
  • Dates
  • Duration
  • Whether you will or will not be registered at a host school/college/university
  • Whether you will or will not receive any kind of certificate, diploma, award, or transcript from an institute abroad
  • If JWU faculty members are delivering the academics on the program
Your personal details (i.e. citizenship and passport) and the details of your program will determine if you need a visa and which type of visa. For example, for many of our past JWU summer programs, students were often considered "tourists" because the program was roughly 28 days, the academics were delivered by our faculty, and students were not registered as students at a host institute. Confirm with the embassy or consulate.

Historically, U.S. citizens have not needed visas to participate in many of our shorter-term programs due to the duration and nature of the programs and visa-exemption agreements with the U.S. However, for programs of longer duration or on which students have been registered at educational institutes abroad (such as exchange programs), U.S. citizens have needed visas and/or residence permits.

Each traveler should check with the appropriate embassy or consulate to confirm, as visa policies for each country are subject to change.

Notify Study Abroad if you need a visa, if you need support documents from our office, or if you need advocacy from our office.

Whether or not you need a visa depends on your personal details and the details of your study abroad program. Furthermore, embassies and consulates may charge different fees or have different application requirements for students of different nationalities.

If you apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate in the USA, know that each visa office will want to know your legal status in the USA. For example, F-1 students will need to show their F-1 visas and their I-20s. Know that, if your F-1 is expired when you apply for the visa, you will probably need to explain to the visa office the regulations regarding F-1 visas and valid I-20s. Also, know that, historically, some consulates (e.g. Spain) require that, if you are applying in the USA, your F-1 visa be valid for at least 3 months after you plan to depart their countries.

Plan your visa application and travels appropriately, knowing the following:
  • Do you need to renew your F-1 visa?
  • Should you apply for a visa for studying abroad at a consulate in the USA, or in your home country?
  • Should you plan to return to your home country after studying abroad, or return to the USA?
Notify Study Abroad if you need a visa, if you need support documents from our office, or if you need advocacy from our office.

International students, consult your International Student Advisor on your campus if you have questions or concerns regarding re-entering the USA.