Want To Study Abroad? Apply For a Passport ASAP

ies abroad logo
IES Abroad
August 16, 2021
A student holds their passport as they wait in line to board their plane.

There are so many things to do in order to make your study abroad dreams a reality, and perhaps none of them are as important as obtaining your passport.

While this has always been a very crucial part of the study abroad process, the reality is that COVID-19 has delayed passport processing times significantly. The U.S. State Department has announced that it now takes an average of 18 weeks—aka 4.5 months!—to process a passport.

We definitely don’t want to scare you, but if you want to study abroad, you need to apply for a passport immediately.

  • Apply for your passport NOW—even if you’re not 100% sure about studying abroad

    If you are considering studying abroad, you need to apply for your passport as soon as you’re done reading this paragraph. No, really—most countries also require that you obtain a student visa to study abroad, and you will need your passport before you can apply for your visa.

    A few things to remember: You must apply for a passport in person if this is your first passport or you are renewing a passport that was issued when you were under 16; You can search for the nearest location to apply for a passport on the U.S. Department of State websiteIf you currently have a passport, make sure that it is valid and does not expire before, during, or less than 6 months after your study abroad program. Most airlines require that your passport remain valid for a full 6 months after you return, so make sure that you’re all set.

  • Expedite both the processing time *and* the shipping time

    You need to expedite every aspect of your passport process. Thousands of students who want to study abroad will be applying or renewing their passports at the same time, in addition to everyone else who wants to travel internationally since many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

    Expedited passport service is $60, and it does not include expedited shipping. The State Department recommends paying the extra $17.56 fee to ensure expedited delivery of your passport via mail within 1-2 days after it’s been processed.

  • Ask us any questions ASAP—ideally after you're done reading this

    We’re here for any and all questions that you have. Please contact our office as soon as you have questions so that we can give you timely and relevant information.

    You’ve waited so long to be able to go abroad, don’t let the passport process slow you down. We recommend that you begin the process as soon as you finish reading this. We don’t typically want to rush anyone, but this is a special exception.

    Here’s the thing: at the end of the day, getting a passport is an investment for your future travel experiences even if you decide not to study abroad. Once it's issued, it's valid for 10 years. Maybe you want to celebrate your 30th birthday abroad! Who knows!?

Plan for both your current and future travel dreams now by taking care of your passport today. Read more about our student visa resources and stay up-to-date on current travel advisories from the U.S. State Department.

IES Abroad News

Read More

IES Abroad regularly publishes news stories, articles, student stories, and other helpful study abroad content. Stay up to date on the latest from IES Abroad by reading our recent posts.

View All IES Abroad News