Studying Abroad: Getting Your Passport and Visa
posted by Allison Tracey
There are a lot of positive reasons to study abroad, including the cultural experience and the resume boost, but the process of going abroad is a whole other thing.
With study abroad there are certain documents that need to be in order. Two of which include your passport and your student visa.
Your passport will allow you to travel from place to place and your visa allows you to study in the particular country, in my case England. In my opinion, the passport process was relatively simple. I filled out the application, took my picture and handed in my check and went on my way.
Soon after this process I received in the mail my official passport. This document is good for ten years so make sure the day you go to take your picture you look your best! Getting a visa was an entirely different process.
The first step with the visa is to fill out and pay for the application. Compared to the passport, the visa application is much longer and needs more specific details.
There are also rules to follow with the visa such as when you are even allowed to apply for it. You must wait until three months before the first day of your classes to apply for this document.
Additionally, to complete your visa application you must have the exact address where you’ll be living during your time abroad. Sounds simple right? In my case, I applied to live in the Residence Hall at the university I’m attending. Since we needed the address for the particular Residence Hall that I would be living in, I had to wait until I heard from the university in order to finish my visa.
Once I heard from them it was relatively simple completing the physical application. After finishing the application process I needed to sign up for a Biometric Enrollment Appointment. When I saw this I was confused because I thought I was finished at this point. All it meant was I had to go and get my picture taken for my visa and give my fingerprints. My final process with the visa was mailing the British Consulate in New York my passport and application for them to place my visa in. After this, they mailed it home to me and I received it about a week later.
With these two applications I learned that the process of studying abroad requires some patience, but it will most definitely be worth it when I land in England and get the experience of a lifetime. Now that all of the paperwork is squared away, my next big step is deciding which shoes to bring and which to leave behind.