A visa is the government document (typically a stamp in your passport) which allows you to enter and remain in a country even when you are not a citizen of that country. In many countries, students are required to obtain a visa in order to study for a summer, semester, or year. Obtaining a visa can take several weeks to obtain so make sure you understand the specific visa requirements for the country you will be visiting.
While the Purchase College Office for Global Education (OGE) is generally able to provide some guidance in getting a visa, it is each student’s responsibility to determine visa and immigration requirements for all countries they plan to visit while abroad; this includes countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program.
All travelers, regardless of citizenship, should consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements.* You can do so by checking the U.S. State Department Before You Go travel website or reaching out to the consulate directly (see links to consulate pages below). It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures. You will need a passport before applying for a visa and the passport plus visa process may take three to four months, so start early!
The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary depending upon the individual’s citizenship and the laws of the host country. Visa regulations change frequently, so make sure to check with the embassy/consulate of your host country before submitting your application via mail or in person. In most cases you will need to submit your passport along with your application. For some countries, certain medical requirements must be met before a visa will be issued. Many countries will not issue visas to persons with any type of police record.
For some countries, a student needs to appear in person to obtain a visa. Other consulates, require that a representative from the college manage the visa process. In those cases, OGE staff will take the lead on the process.
Purchase requires that students register with the U.S. Embassy before you travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP Program).
|Foreign Consulates in New York (exceptions noted)|
|Benin (Washington DC)||Germany||Netherlands|
|China||Honduras (Washington DC||Spain|
*Note: International students doing a study abroad program must visit OGE to obtain a signature on visa documents to permit re-entry to the United States.