Getting a visa when going abroad
Going abroad shouldn’t be confusing or scary to you as long as you know what you are doing, you have a solid plan, and know all the right stuff you need to know to prepare for you program abroad. What are the rules when going abroad? Do I need vaccinations? Do I have a valid visa? Am I applying for the right type of visa? What are the fees for visas?
If you are a United States citizen planning to travel overseas whether to intern abroad or study abroad, you most likely will have to get a visa to be able to enter your destination country and be legal when remaining inside of the borders of a particular country. Each country’s laws, regulations, and visa rules are different, thus it is your responsibility to do everything you can to comply with those rules to be able to get your passport stamped. Sometimes you can get a visa at the airport when you arrive, but a lot of the times you have to visit consulates or embassies of certain countries, apply with them, go through an interview, etc. and only then you will get your visa. A lot of the times students don’t educate themselves enough about visa process, get accepted into an international internship and then they can’t get a visa and are forced to cancel their program – this is one of the main reasons why planning your trip ahead of time is very important! Try to get your visa at least couple of weeks prior your departure, don’t wait and risk your study abroad experience!
What is a visa?
A citizen of one country entering another country needs to obtain a visa which is usually placed (a lot of the times stamped) in the traveler’s passport which every citizen of every country has. In U.S. passport is used for travel purposes when in a lot of other countries citizens usually have two passports: inside and outside passport. Outside passports are used for the purpose of international travel and inside passports serve more for identification purposes.
Link To Diversity is dedicated to providing valuable travel information to students and travelers thus we have prepared a list of helpful tips to consider when preparing for your program abroad.
#1. Plan ahead of time!
Almost in each one of our articles we recommend every student to plan ahead of time to be able to have the most enjoyable and unforgettable experiences abroad! Well…getting a visa is part of planning process. Probably one of the biggest things that every student and traveler should worry about is visa because without a visa your trip can be cancelled in no time! Planning is simply a preventative tool. Every traveler who plans ahead of time prevents any problems before they happen! This is exactly why organized people tend to be happier, relaxed, and more successful in anything they do, be one of them! You have to understand that a lot of countries have their own rules to entrance. Sometimes you will have to get immunizations before you depart, and sometimes you don’t have to do anything. Some customs will not let certain things into the country and this can be your favorite thing that you could have left home. These little problems one by one will ruin your stay abroad. So it is best to know what is required of you and plan ahead of time.
#2. Check travel warnings provided by U.S. government!
You have to understand that you are going to a foreign country where everything is different from how it is at home. People, culture, norms, and values are different from yours. Political situation and weather can be critical and by visiting www.travel.state.gov you will learn a lot about what is going on in the country. It is best to travel when there are no travel warning issued by the state but there are also a variety of tips provided by the government on things that travelers from U.S. usually have to deal with when abroad. Some students who are participating in international internships, or volunteer work abroad programs may become victims of local crime if they act without caution. To be honest, when you are abroad and are going through hard times, or have been a victim of violence, the best thing to do is to call U.S. embassy or consulate nearby. Although a call to your friend or parent can be warm and pleasing, they are less likely to help you since they don’t know the situation in that country. You will only make them worry more and will stress them out. U.S. embassies across the world always deal with various situations and will be glad to help you out when you are distressed.
#3. Register with local U.S. embassy!
For the reasons listed above, it is important for you to get in contact with local U.S. embassy or consulate to let them know that you are in the country, ask for their emergency numbers so you can dial them when needed. It is best to register with them prior your departure at www.travelregistration.state.gov
You should visit www.travel.state.gov for more information on visas and entry requirements to other countries.left