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Passports & Visas


A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship and permits a citizen to travel abroad. All students must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of return to the US. Apply for or renew your US passport:


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


Q: I want to participate on multiple SCU programs abroad that require my passport to be mailed to obtain the visa - can I get a second passport?
A: The US Department of State advises that a second passport is the exception to the rule and that in general their policy is that US citizens should not possess more than one passport.  The DOS notes that "there is no guarantee that a second passport will be issued.  Each request is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Not all applications are approved."  Consult the US DOS on Second Passports:


Visas are an official authorization appended to a passport, permitting entry into and travel within a particular country or region.

The answer depends on several factors: what the nationality of your passport is, your study abroad destination and/or the duration of your study abroad program.  Your study abroad program will provide you with information on the visa application process.  You can also contact the embassy/consulate of the country in which you hope to study to get visa requirements.

It is your responsibility to obtain your visa.  You cannot apply for your visa until you have been accepted by your study abroad program.  You can, however, begin gathering the necessary supplemental documents.

Most study abroad programs will provide students with a guide of how to apply for a student visa and will give detailed instructions on how to contact the embassy/consulate to verify the application procedure and needed supplemental documents.  Embassies are usually based in Washington D.C. and have consular offices around the United States through which students can apply.  Embassies usually require that you apply through the consulate that is in the district of your permanent address or home university's location.

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

Be aware that, like the United States, many countries recently have tightened restrictions pertaining to issuing visas.  Because visa requirements and procedures change frequently it is important that you understand what is required for your country and begin the application process early.  Ofte 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 (most consulates will not accept visa appointments more than 90 days in advance of the start of the study abroad program) to ensure the issuance of their visa and to receive their passport and documents with time to spare prior to departure.

Visa application procedures vary from country to country and consulate to consulate.  Some countries require you to apply in person at their consulate, while others require you to submit your application by mail.  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)
  • acceptance letters to your study abroad program
  • proof of financial means
  • round-trip plane ticket or flight itinerary
  • proof of health insurance
  • a police report from your local police department

After you have been accepted by your study abroad program, do not hesitate to contact your program with questions about the visa process for your study abroad country.

The processing time for a visa will depend on the country/consulate you are applying to and your country of citizenship.  The process may take as little as one day and as long as ninety days.

Because you may be required to relinquish your passport to the embassy or consulate that will issue your visa, you may not be able to travel abroad during the visa application process.   Students participating on multiple programs abroad should plan carefully and be prepared to alter the terms that they participate on programs abroad.  Read more about particpating in multiple programs abroad here.


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.

Your requirements for a visa may differ from those for US citizens. Be sure to review the requirements as stated by the foreign embassy carefully.  You should also be in touch with an International Students & Scholars (ISS) advisor to ensure that you have all in order with your US documentation so that you can re-enter the US without incident after your Study Abroad program ends.

Notarized Documents

On-Campus Notary Public: Contact Monica Manriquez ( at Walsh Administration Building for an appointment.

  • Set up an appointment
  • Know what documents you need notarized
  • Have documents fully completed and unsigned
  • Fee $10 (cash preferred but will accept a check) per notarization (if you need multiple documents notarized: it's $10 per document per signature)
  • Need valid driver license or passport
Jason Nguyenimage

Diversity Perspective

Jason Nguyen

"I come from a very poor family in the U.S., so it shocked me when I was regarded as being in a position of privilege."