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Passports and Visas

Student Responsibility

It is a student's responsibility to acquire a passport and visa or residence permit (if applicable) prior to attending their program to ensure their departure from the U.S. and their entry into their study abroad destination.

Even if a student completes all application materials, failing to procure necessary travel documents can impact their ability to participate in a study abroad program. It is critical to apply for these documents early, as there have been many processing delays due to the impacts of COVID-19.  


About Passports:

All students must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of return to the US from a global program. If a student already has a passport, it is crucial they ensure it hasn’t expired.  If a student does not currently have a valid passport, they will need to apply for one prior to submitting their application for a global program to Santa Clara University. Please keep in mind that during peak passport application times such as the spring or summer months, it can take up to 18 weeks to receive the final document.

International Students: Please refer to your nation’s Embassy or Consulate for information on how to obtain or renew your passport. 

U.S. citizens: Visit the U.S. Passports section on the U.S. Department of State’s website for information on how to obtain or renew your passport. If you already have a passport, make sure it hasn’t expired. A U.S. passport is valid for 10 years for citizens who were 16 or older when the passport was issued. 

Passport Costs: To learn more about U.S. passport costs, please visit If you need a passport in a hurry, you can request an expedited service (to get the passport to you in about twelve weeks) when you apply in person, for an additional $60 per application. If you are traveling within the next two weeks and really need your passport quickly, you’ll have to go to the closest regional passport agency to apply.

Application Materials: To apply for a passport, you will need a passport-sized photo. Walgreens, CVS, and Costco all provide passport photo services. Below is a list of the closest locations to campus.

Ad West Mail and Copy Center:

59 Washington St.
Santa Clara, CA 

This center takes SCU Access Flex Points


200 N. Winchester Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95050


3081 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95050


1601 Coleman Ave.
Santa Clara, CA 95050 


About Visas & Residence Permits:

In addition to a passport, some students may also need a visa or residence permit. A visa is placed within a passport and grants the student official permission to enter, leave, or stay in a country for a specified time period. A residence permit is an official document issued by a foreign country's government that allows a student to legally reside in that country for the duration of their academic program. It grants the student permission to stay in the country for a specific period, typically aligned with the study program's start and end dates.

Whether a student needs a visa or residence permit depends on several factors: what the nationality of their passport is, their global destination(s), and the duration of their program. Details on how to apply for a visa or residence permit if a student needs one will be provided by their program during Phase 3 when they are working on their pre-departure preparation.  

**Students are strongly discouraged from making international travel plans prior to attending a global program that requires a visa or residence permit. If students make international travel plans prior to attending a global program, such as personal vacations, and they are unable to secure a visa or residence permit in time, they put their participation at risk and are responsible for any unrecoverable costs and withdrawal fees.**

How to Apply: Most consulates will not accept visa or residence permit applications until 30 - 90 days before the start date of the global program. Our advisors recommend gathering the necessary application documents early to ensure they are prepared to begin the process. 

Contact the consulate or embassy of the countries you'll be studying or interning abroad in (and visiting) for the most up-to-date requirements and guidance. Be sure to review the requirements carefully. International students should also be in touch with an International Students & Scholars (ISS) advisor to ensure they have all in order with their US documentation so they can re-enter the US without incident after their program ends.

Application procedures vary from country to country and consulate to consulate. Some countries require students to apply in person at their consulate, while others may allow students to submit their application by mail. Students need to be prepared to send out their application at least two months in advance, and should remember to make copies of their application number just in case. Processing times will vary depending on the consulate; The process may take as little as one day and as long as ninety days.

Visa Support: Details on how to apply for a visa or residence permit if a student needs one will be provided by their program during Phase 3 when they are working on their pre-departure preparation.  Often, the hardest part of obtaining a student visa is scheduling the appointment at the consulate. Students should work to schedule their appointments as early as possible. 

If a student's program offers the option to batch process their student visa (i.e. the student gathers the needed visa documents, then sends them to the program provider and the provider submits the visa application to the consulate on the student's behalf) we highly recommend this option.

Visa Costs: The fees associated with applying for a visa vary from country to country.  Currently, the costs of visas range from as little as US $30 to over US $500, not including the costs of traveling to and from the embassy/consulate.Furthermore, the fees may change frequently and with no notice. You are responsible for paying the consular fee for your visa.

Application Materials: The documents required for a visa application also vary from country to country, and can even vary from consulate to consulate for the same country.  Examples of documents required for a visa application may include such items as:

  • Your passport (the consulate keeps your passport while it processes your visa application)
  • Visa applications generally require an acceptance letter, also known as an enrollment verification or visa letter, from the university abroad or study abroad program. If you need one, please complete the Enrollment Verification - Request Form as soon as possible. SCU Study Abroad will communicate via email when your letter is ready for pick up at Global Engagement (Aloysius Varsi Hall, 1st Floor).
  • Proof of financial means
  • Round-trip plane ticket or flight itinerary
  • Proof of health insurance
  • A police report from your local police department

Notary Services: 

To our knowledge, there is not a notary on campus, however, the closest would be as follows:
The UPS Store: 1231 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara, CA 95050
PostalAnnex: 2010 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050


Embassies & Consulates:

Here is a complete list of official U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

Santa Clara University requires all students to register their presence abroad with the US embassy in their host country. Registration may be accomplished easily prior to departure through the Department of State's Smart Traveler's Enrollment Program (STEP). Enrolling in STEP makes your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary for a consular officer to contact you in an emergency. During a disaster overseas, American consular officers can assist in evacuation, if necessary, but they cannot assist you if they do not know where you are. If you are not a US citizen, contact your country's embassy. 

An Embassy is a country's main diplomatic office in another county, usually in the capital city of the host country, where the ambassador resides. An embassy provides crucial help for students in the event of a major or minor emergency. Students who lose essential documents, experience medical issues, or become victims of a crime while abroad should contact the nearest embassy. The U.S. government operates embassies in most, but not all, foreign countries. 

A Consulate is a building where the Consul General can be found. The Consul General is an official appointed by a government to reside in a foreign country and represent his or her government's commercial interests and assist its citizens there. Consulates serve similar purposes as an embassy, but usually do not offer the same variety of services.