Important Information for Students Planning to Travel in 2022

While we’re excited to say that study abroad is back, that does not mean everything is back to normal. One thing that’s still struggling to get back to normal is passport processing times. Whether you already have a passport or not, please see below for some important things to consider!  Some of the following details are specific to U.S. passports, but the essence of this advice also applies to students planning to travel on non-U.S. passports.

Already have a passport?

Be sure to check these things to ensure it’s good to go for study abroad:

  1. Expiration date - when does your passport expire? If you got it before you were 16, it was only good for 5 years. Passports issued to those 16+ are good for 10 years.
  2. How close is the expiration date to when you plan to travel? Many countries want to see that your passport is valid for 3-6 months after you plan to return - so if it expires very close to your return date, you’ll want to check to see if you need to renew it anyway! For example, if you roll up to the airport for a trip to any of the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area and your passport is not valid for at least three months beyond your trip, you’re going to get some bad news.
  3. Do you have at least one blank page for visas?

Need to get your first passport or renew your current one?

Passport processing is still taking longer than usual, so you should apply for your first passport or renew your passport as early as possible, if you haven’t already started - we’d recommend getting started today if you plan to travel in 2022. 

The U.S. State Department currently recommends that travelers start the application or renewal process at least six months before planned travel.

Many passport application acceptance facilities have limited hours, so in-person appointments (required for first-time passports, renewals for kids under 16, or for replacing a lost or stolen passport) are limited. Additionally, appointments are being prioritized for those with emergency needs, so you may end up waiting a few weeks. Bottom line - schedule your appointment ASAP.

To cast the widest net, visit the USPS passport site and look for available appointments within 100 miles of your zip code. You may need to be willing to travel to get an earlier appointment. Once you get an appointment, your application will be subject to the wait times below.

Routine or normal service to receive a passport is estimated at 8-11 weeks. Expedited service, which costs an additional $60, is estimated at 5-7 weeks.

Please note that even if you have an in-person appointment, your passport application is then mailed in for processing and subject to these wait times. The appointment is just how you are submitting your application. Once processed, it is mailed to you. You will not receive your passport at the appointment.

For students considering studying abroad anytime in 2022 - we recommend applying for or renewing passports as soon as possible.

If you have not yet applied for a passport and are wanting to study abroad in 2022, please check with a study abroad advisor to see what the timeline looks like for the program you are interested in. Some programs may require you to apply for a visa before you might get your passport back, and we can advise on whether or not a program may still be possible. We can also suggest other programs that may not have as tight of a deadline, if needed.

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