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Visa Information for U.S. Nationals

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Student Visa Information
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 1. What is a visa? 

• Permission to enter, live, and study in your destination country

• It may be a stamp, an inserted paper, or an affixed adhesive paper placed in your original passport by consular officials or airport immigration

 2.. Who applies for a visa?

• Anyone choosing to visit and live in a country for longer than 30-90 days, if you travel for the purpose of study (Why?: because those are the laws of the destination country – U.S. law does not apply)

• Different laws, regulations, and policies apply for tourism (a stay less than 30 days)

 3. When to apply?

• When you receive your letter of acceptance from your foreign university destination

 4. How to apply?

• Mail original passport with application materials


• Appear in person at the consulate for an interview with application materials and original passport

 5. How much does it cost?

• Cost varies depending on the country and visa type (length of stay)

• It can range from FREE to $500 (depends on the country)

 6. Check your destination country’s closest General Consulate (usually in Chicago) webpage for their unique requirements.  What is a consulate? How do you do search for one?

• A consulate is an official diplomatic representative of the national government of a country and acts as the sovereign territory of that country in the United States.

• Culture, laws, regulations and policies of your destination country apply in the consulate location (not U.S. culture, laws, regulations and policies)

• Use Google to search: “General Consulate of (Insert Country Name)”

           • Choose the one in a city closest to Iowa (usually but not always Chicago) & has jurisdiction over applicants.
 7. Know when you will arrive and leave your destination country, so you can know the exact length of your stay in the country
 8.  Proof of financial support from the Office of Student Financial Aid or a notarized bank statement from yourself or parents/guardian

Students who do need a visa may consult with the Study Abroad Center's Student Support Specialist to go over the country specific immigration procedures..

Useful links:

US Dept. of State
NAFSA Visas for Education Abroad
U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world