Passports & Visas
Obtain or Renew Your Passport Immediately
If you do not already have a passport that will be valid for at least six months after your return to the U.S., you should apply for one as soon as possible.
- Typical processing time: 4-6 weeks
- Application process: Submit your application in person to the Evanston post office.
Learn more about applying for or renewing a passport.
- Passport photos: Take additional photos for ID cards, visa applications, and to bring abroad. Local options for passport photos:
Obtain a Visa (if required)
It is your responsibility to verify the visa requirements of your host country, and if necessary, to obtain your visa. Contact your program to find out if you need a visa and if they provide assistance or have suggestions for obtaining one. If not, please contact the nearest embassy or consulate for instructions or consider consulting with a visa assistance service such as Perry International in Chicago, which will charge a fee for their services: https://perryvisa.com/.
- International students: If you are an international student enrolled at Northwestern and planning to study abroad outside your country of citizenship, you will need to work closely with your program and the appropriate consulate(s) to ensure that you are eligible to do so given your status in the U.S., and that you have the proper documentation, which could differ from that of students who are U.S. citizens. Also, be sure to contact the Northwestern Office of International Student & Scholar Services to ensure you understand any INS requirements and that you do not jeopardize your residency status by participating in a program abroad.
- Typical processing time: Anywhere from two weeks to over three months
- Warning about international travel: You typically give up your passport to obtain a visa, so international travel during the months before your departure date (especially summer) is not recommended and could complicate or jeopardize your participation in your program.
Students participating in the following Northwestern programs and exchanges will likely need to apply for visas to enter their host country to study:
- U.S. citizens participating in Northwestern programs in China* and France
- U.S. citizens participating in the Journalism Residency Qatar and Semester in Qatar programs
- Exchange students in all locations (given the longer duration of their time abroad)
- Students who do not carry U.S. passports (all programs)
U.S. citizens participating in Northwestern study abroad or Journalism Residency programs in locations other than those listed above will likely not need to apply for a visa in advance of departure.
*GLO will assist with batch visa processing for specially designed programs in China, as long as students complete and submit their requirements to GLO by the published deadlines. Students who do not comply with GLO’s deadlines will be responsible for processing their own visas at their own cost.
For students participating in all other programs, GLO and/or your exchange institution will provide guidelines and requirements about the visa application process for your host country via Canvas and email, as appropriate. However, GLO is not responsible for obtaining your student visa, nor is GLO responsible for visa complications, delays, or denials. Although GLO is willing to help you with the visa application process, we do not have any control over visa requirements or granting visas: the decision to issue you a visa rests solely with the consulate or embassy of your host country.
Entry requirements can change at any time, so you are advised to pay close attention to consular updates and to be prepared to address all entry requirements for your host country. All students must obtain a visa if required to do so by their host country in order to participate in their program. Failure to obtain a visa will result in your having to withdraw from your program, subject to the Withdrawal and Refund Policies for Northwestern-Sponsored Programs.