Travel Topics / Visas


UK Education Abroad Staff are not experts on visas, so this is going to take a little leg work on your end...don't worry, we'll help where we can.

First, let's answer a big question: What's a visa?

Other than being a major type of credit card, a visa is also a type of travel document. Not everyone will need a visa for their time abroad, but for those of you who do, here's some (hopefully) helpful information. A visa proves that you're allowed to enter a specific country, for a specific length of time, to do a specific thing...such as study or work. A visa is issued by the government of the country you're traveling to, not the U.S. UK Education Abroad and Exchanges, unfortunately, has no control over your visa process or approval.

Your second question is probably something like: Ok...but do I need one?

To figure out if you need a visa, visit the Americans Traveling Abroad page at the U.S. State Department website. Another option is to google " 'country you're going to' visas" or to visit the consulate website for the country your program is in. These sources should outline visa requirements, and other entry requirements, for any country you'll be in while abroad.

CAUTION!!! Not every visa type will be included on the State Department website linked above. You will definitely want to visit the consulate/embassy page for the country you're traveling to in order to see ALL visa types and specific requirements for your type. This is where the process can get really tricky, so don't be afraid to call the embassy or consulate with questions.

So now you know if you need one. Your next question might be: How do I get one?

First things first, you'll need a valid passport. You'll also need to go back to the website where you find out you need a visa and look through their steps.

In general though, along with your passport, you'll need a program acceptance letter. Some other requirements may vary based on your citizenship, country of study, program type, and length of stay. Requirements can change depending on what country you're going to, so be sure to check visa requirements for EACH country you may be traveling to or studying in.

Requirements could include (but aren't limited to):

  • Birth Certificate/Social Security Card
  • Proof of Funding
  • International Insurance Coverage
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Medical Clearance

Some Other Useful Things to Know

  • Visiting an Embassy or Consulate

    You may have to visit the consulate or embassy in person, and you'll need an appointment. The embassy or consulate you'll need to go to will depend on the geographic region of where you live and/or go to school. The consulate/embassy website should have more info for you.

  • Your Documents

    The embassy or consulate that is issuing your visa may keep your passport and other documents until your visa is approved, especially if you have to mail it in to them.

  • Timing

    It can take months to get a visa approved and processed. Plan ahead, and take a breath.

  • Payment

    Visas cost money. The price will depend on the country, so be sure to check out the necessary websites, or call the consulate for that information.

  • Expiration Dates

    Visas have expiration dates. Be sure to keep that in mind when applying for your visa, especially if you want to travel before or after your program. You can be detained or deported if you don't have a visa or if you don't leave on time! Those expiration dates are serious.

  • Make Copies

    Make copies of all of your important visa application documents. Trust us, you'd rather have a copy and not need it, than not make a copy and something get lost.

  • Mailing Your Application

    If you are able to mail your visa application, be sure to take the option to track your package. When you take it to the post office, just ask for the option to track the package. It might cost a little more money, but it's worth the peace of mind.

  • Questions?

    If you have questions, you'll need to contact the country's embassy or consulate, your program provider, or a visa processing agency (such as A Briggs, Travisa, or VisaHQ).