Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Preparations Before You Go Abroad


important travel Documents
+ Passport / Visa
+ Acceptance Letters for Immigration Authorities
+ International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
+ Insurance card (see Health Issues)
+ Names and phone numbers of emergency contact persons
+ Plane tickets
+ Extra passport-size photographs
+ Copy of vision prescription and complete medical record (see Health Issues)

+ Make two sets of photocopies of all documents (especially your airline ticket, passport, immigration letter, traveler’s checks, and credit cards). Include the emergency telephone numbers for your credit cards, just in case you need to cancel or replace your cards while you are overseas.
+ Leave one set of copies at home, and keep the other with you.  If you should lose any of your documents, the copies may speed up the replacement process.
+ NEVER pack your passport or any other important documents in your check-in luggage.

If you are an international student, study abroad may affect your status: You must visit the Office of International Services to discuss your plans well in advance of studying abroad (718/817/3145 or

The US State Department recommends applying for a passport several months prior to your scheduled departure.  For an additional fee, you can request expedited processing. Keep in mind, however, that expedited service may vary in length depending on current demand for passports.

Applying for a Passport
If you’re applying for a passport for the first time, you’ll need to submit your application in person at a U.S. Post Office or Passport Agency. You will also need to provide proof of citizenship (such as an original birth certificate), proof of identity, and recent 2”x2” color photographs. Visit link below for details on completing your first application.

Renewing a Passport
If you have a passport already but it will expire during your stay abroad, you need to apply for a new one before you leave.  Please also note that some countries may require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the end date of your study abroad program; contact the embassy or consulate of the country you are planning to visit for details.  If you need to renew your passport, you may have the option to do so by mail.  Even in the case of renewal, we strongly encourage expedited processing. For more information, visit link below.

For more info on applying for your passport, or once you have applied to check your application status, visit or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. 

Many countries require that US citizens have a visa.  A visa is an official document giving permission to enter a country and is granted by the government of the country you wish to enter.  It may be in the form of a stamp imprinted on a page in your passport or it might be an official document which includes a photograph.

As they vary from country to country, you need to check with the embassy of the foreign country in which you will be studying in for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements.  To apply for a visa, usually you will need to go to the consulate nearest your permanent address.  When applying, make sure to check what documents you will need to submit along with your visa application and application fee.  These might include: your current, valid passport, a letter for immigration authorities issued to you by ISAP (the Visa Letter), and your acceptance letter from your study abroad program/institution.  You may also be required to submit one or more recent, 2”x2” photographs, evidence of financial support during your period of study abroad (i.e. bank statement), and proof of medical insurance.

Please be aware that the conditions on your visa may limit the number of times or the frequency with which you may leave and re-enter your host country.  Make sure you understand these restrictions before you leave by inquiring about the reentry requirements at the embassies/consulates of the individual countries.

Your SAB program provider will handle your visa-related questions.  For more information regarding foreign entry requirements, see

Acceptance Letters for Immigration Authorities
Upon your approval to study abroad, ISAP provides you with a Visa Letter addressed to the immigration authorities certifying that you are a full-time student in a Fordham sponsored study abroad program.  Upon your acceptance by your study abroad program, the provider will give you an official letter of acceptance, which will offer immigration authorities more detailed information regarding your planned stay abroad.

+ Keep the above mentioned letters together with your passport.  The immigration authorities at the airport may ask to see both documents (make copies and keep them in a safe place).  Additionally, you may also have to sign a statement indicating that you will have sufficient funding for the time you will be studying abroad (a bank statement is usually sufficient proof).
+ In some countries you may be required to register with the police after arrival (any fees involved in registering with the police are the responsibility of the student).  Please check with your study abroad program provider for more details regarding immigration matters. 

International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
The ISIC card verifies your student status and is internationally accepted.  A most valuable travel document, the ISIC card qualifies you for student airfares and discounts on travel, at museums, theatres, concerts, cultural events, and while visiting historical sites in more than a hundred countries.  The card, issued by STA Travel, is available at all STA Travel Offices in the US and worldwide, and is also sold at many US colleges and universities.  You can also order it by calling 1-800-781-4040 (within the US) or +1-480-592-0870 (outside the US).  Or, order online at or

Plane Tickets/Travel Arrangements
Some program providers include group flights to and from the program site, while others require you to make your own travel arrangements.  If you do need to arrange your own transportation, get started well in advance.  Keep in mind that a mandatory orientation session may precede the semester or term, so you may need to arrive before the official start date of your study abroad program.  If you plan to do further travel after your exams are over, investigate buying an “open-ended” or “open jaw” air plane ticket, which has a flexible return date or let you return from a different location from your point of arrival.   Do not buy a one-way ticket: most foreign countries require visitors to have a round-trip ticket before they are allowed to enter.

Registering at the US Embassy
In addition to securing a visa, all students who are U.S. citizens are required to register themselves with the U.S. Embassy in their host country before departure from the U.S.  Travel registration is a free service and it allows you to record information about your upcoming trip abroad that the Department of State can use to assist you in case of emergency (e.g. international, political, or family emergencies, stolen or lost passport, etc.).

Please visit the Department of State’s web site to register:  Print the confirmation page after you have registered and keep it for your records.

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