Post-Acceptance Paperwork & Registration
After you have been accepted, you must deposit to confirm your registration for the study abroad program. All students participating in a study abroad program, Purchase or non-Purchase, must then complete the post-acceptance paperwork. If you were accepted to a Purchase program, please follow the instructions you received via email. If you were accepted to another SUNY or non-SUNY study abroad program, you must complete the ‘Non-Purchase Study Abroad Programs’ application to begin the post-acceptance paperwork.
You should apply for a passport immediately because it can take at least six to eight weeks for standard processing and most passport acceptance facilities require appointments.
U.S. and non-U.S. citizens need a passport both to enter other countries (including Canada and Mexico) and return to the United States. If you already have a passport, make sure it is valid until at least six months after your return date (Note: some countries, such as Russia, require that your passport is valid for 18 months following the completion of your program). New U.S. passports are good for ten years. Apply early to avoid complications caused by misplaced original birth certificates and similar problems.
If your passport is expired or will expire before the 6 months following your program, you will need to renew, which takes about 4-6 weeks. Ask a Study Abroad Advisor for details as renewal for people of traditional college age can be different than typical renewal.
Passport forms are available online at the US Department of State site, in the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS), or at the facility where you will apply. Complete them legibly and in BLACK INK ONLY or the acceptance agent may ask that you complete a new form.
For first-time applicants, age 16 and older, a ten-year passport is $110.00. The execution fee is $25. It is likely you will need separate checks for these amounts.
With your completed application you must also have the following:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship (i.e. certified copy of your birth certificate or certificate of naturalization)
- Proof of identity (i.e. a valid driver’s license or military ID. For students with license from outside New York, you will also need your Purchase student ID.)
- Two (2) passport-style photographs (2” x 2” with white background. It is best to have these taken professionally at a place like CVS or Rite-Aid.)
- Appropriate fees in check or money order. Checks should be permanent checks rather than starter checks. If you do not have a checking account, you can often buy money orders where you have your passport photos taken.
You must submit your application to a passport acceptance facility, which require that you have an appointment. The local passport acceptance facility is the:
Westchester County Clerks Office
110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
White Plains, NY 10601
To view other locations, please use the U.S. Department of States’ Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page.
Once you have your passport, be sure to sign it and fill in the emergency information page.
A visa is an entry/residency permit and official permission granted by the authorities of the countries where you will study or travel, which allow you to enter and remain in that country. The visa itself is frequently a stamp/sticker in your passport, generally not a separate document. While the Purchase College Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) is generally able to provide some guidance in getting a visa, it is your responsibility to make sure that you understand the immigration requirements, and the process for obtaining a visa. OIPS cannot be held responsible for the issuance or denial of a visa – that is entirely controlled by the Consulate of the country to which you are traveling.
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! During the visa application processing, in most cases you will need to submit your actual passport along with your application. That means you will be without a passport during that time period of up to four months. Keep in mind that your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the length of your requested visa (e.g. if you are requesting a 12- month visa your passport must be valid for 18 months). Make sure to check the expiration date on your passport. Also, your passport must contain at least two blank visa pages.
In many countries students are required to obtain a visa in order to study for a summer, semester, or year. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary depending upon the individual’s citizenship and the laws of the host country. However, the items that are most typically required include photos, a fee, and proof of funds to support the student while abroad, proof of enrollment in the U.S. and at the foreign institution, proof of housing abroad, proof of insurance, and finger prints or other biometrics. In some cases students will need to show that they do not have a criminal background. Depending on the country this may be done through their local police station, or some countries specifically require an FBI background check. Additional requirements may include, a birth certificate, HIV or other medical exam, proof of vaccination, round-trip airline tickets, proof of residency in the U.S. (e.g. copy of license or lease). It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad; this includes countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by consulting with a travel agent, calling the consular offices of those countries, or checking the U.S. State Department Document Requirements website or the Travel Document Systems website.
For some countries a student does need to appear in person to obtain a visa. However, in others they may be able to use a visa service that acts as a stand in for the student. Students should be prepared and set aside time and funding to travel to the nearest consulate/embassy if called upon. Keep in mind that you might need to make an appointment prior to appearing in person. Also, make sure to check the operating hours for visa processing services. Generally, it can be very difficult and in some cases impossible, to speak with someone in a foreign consulate regarding the status of your visa application.
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. You may be denied entry into, or be deported from, a country for which you have not obtained a required visa. OIPS is not responsible for obtaining visas nor are they in any way responsible for visa or entry denial. 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.
Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You should check the U.S. State DepartmentWeb sites for Foreign Consular Office listings and for the listings of Embassies and Consulates. The procedures that you will follow may be different from those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures. International students must visit OIPS to obtain a signature on visa documents to permit re-entry to the United States.
Passport — If you don’t have a passport, apply as soon as possible.
Immigration, Visas, and Embassies
A Visa is the government document required by your host country and is often a stamp in your Passport. Some Visas can take several weeks to obtain. Make sure you understand the requirements for your specific Visa. Contact your program provider or sending institution and Embassy or Consulate of the country you plan to study in for specific requirements and regulations and specific instructions about how to apply and obtain a visa for your destination. Also, register with the U.S. Embassy before you travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Health & Safety
Purchase students participating in any Purchase College sponsored study abroad program will be enrolled in the SUNY international comprehensive health insurance policy, GeoBlue International Health Insurance. This is available for SUNY programs specifically, therefore students going on other SUNY and SUNY-approved programs can opt for this insurance as well.
GeoBlue International Health Insurance provides the SUNY coverage for medical treatment due to accident or illness. Once you have been enrolled in the SUNY insurance, you will receive instructions from GeoBlue for registering for and activating your personalized website and printing your health insurance ID card. This card is your proof of coverage. Do this as soon as you receive instructions, as there is much valuable information available on the website.
Please note that the international health insurance policy becomes effective once you are abroad, it does not cover any medical expenses in the U.S. To avoid any gaps in coverage, make sure you are covered by your current domestic health insurance until your date of departure from the U.S.
To access GeoBlue International Insurance Services Interactive Resources, students enrolled in the insurance plan may register for access to GeoBlue’s Interactive Resources by going to https://members.geobluestudents.com/Registration/Member.
GeoBlue’s Interactive Resources include:
- Online claims status
- Coverage limits and personal information
- Doctor search in the U.S. and abroad
- Travel health and safety news and articles
- Medical term, phrase and drug translation databases
- Access to CityHealth Profiles for important health information in cities worldwide
- Personalized news and e-mail, which can be delivered to the student and up to five of his or her family members and friends
Immunizations and Regional Health Conditions
Most countries do not require that you present proof of immunizations. However, depending on where you are going, you may want to consider taking certain immunizations before you leave. To learn about recommended, or even required, immunizations, please visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for Travelers’ Health.
If you are taking medications, have your doctor provide you with an explanation and the generic name for your prescription, especially if you know you will need to fill it abroad. You cannot legally mail medication internationally. Follow the same procedures for any other type of treatments you may be undergoing. If you know you will need to see a doctor abroad for a specific reason, bring as much documentation about your condition as possible.
A General Pre-Departure Orientation Session is mandatory for all students preparing to study abroad. In addition, for students attending a Faculty-Led Program, there may be additional program specific sessions required. During pre-departure orientation, we cover important items like:
- Health and Wellness
- Health Insurance
- Culture Shock
- Alcohol & Drug Use
- Communication Abroad
- Finances Abroad
- Road Travel
- Adjusting to a Different Educational System
- Handling Emergency Situations
Some important points to remember while abroad:
Stay Smart: Some people assume a kind of carefree “vacation” mentality when they go abroad. It is important to not let your guard down just because you are doing something new and different. Use common sense, and err on the side of safety. Literally look both ways before you cross the street and become a participant-observer in your host country.
Know and Abide by Local Law: Laws vary from country to country and ignorance is not an excuse. Know the laws of your host country and abide by them. Legal protection can easily be taken for granted in the United States. In most countries, the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” does not exist and bail may not be a possibility.
Alcohol Consumption: The customs regarding drinking wine and beer may be different in your host country than in the United States. The minimum drinking age may be lower, and it may be customary to drink wine or beer with meals. Try to be culturally sensitive to the drinking norms and aware of your own behavior in your host country.
Drug Use: Aside from the legal consequences, drug use can contribute to feelings of isolation and frustration. Further, anti-narcotics laws are strictly enforced in many foreign countries, regardless of whether a student is caught with a small or large amount of a drug. To be safe, stay away from illegal drugs or anyone who uses or sells them.
AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases: In some countries, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is a widespread health problem. Take the same steps to avoid this disease as you would at home. Use a condom if you are sexually active. (It may be a good idea to bring condoms with you, because the quality of condoms in some countries is unreliable.) Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis and herpes, are also present worldwide. Use the necessary precautions to avoid these diseases.
Safety Issues in Your Host Country: As study abroad students and/or parents, you should take the time to read specific country information available from the United States’ Department of State and other countries’ governments. This information and reports from host institution officials are what the Global Education Office uses to determine health and safety concerns throughout the world.
U.S. Department of State Destination Information