Important Information Regarding Passports & Visas

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 with non-U.S. passports.

Already have a passport?

Be sure to check these things to ensure you're ready 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 or more after you plan to return - so if it expires very close to your return date, you’ll want to check 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 can take some time, so you should apply for your first passport or renew your passport as early as possible, if you haven’t already started - we recommend getting started as soon as you know you want to study abroad.  

If you have not yet applied for a passport and are wanting to study abroad very soon, please check with a study abroad advisor to see what the timeline looks like for the program you are interested in. Some programs require you to have your passport by the program application deadline and others may require you to apply for a visa before you might get your passport back. We can advise on whether you need to select the expedited passport service, or if a program is still a good option depending on the timeline. We can also suggest other programs that may not have as tight of a deadline, if needed.

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

An appointment will be required to get a passport and many passport application acceptance facilities have limited hours. 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.

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 these processing times are estimates, and actual processing time may be longer. Please check the U.S. Department of State website for most up-to-date processing times.

Applying for (or Renewing) Your U.S. Passport

To review how to start applying for your passport and to learn what documents you need, visit the U.S. Department of State Passport Page. Click here to get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to apply for a passport in person?
Most students will need to apply in person. You must apply in person if you are applying for your first passport, or if your previous one was obtained when you were 16 years old or under.
Do I need a passport book, card, or both?
Study abroad students should get a passport book and not a passport card. Passport cards are not valid for international air travel and cannot be used for studying abroad or applying for visas.
Where can I get a passport photo?
You can receive these free of charge in the Study Abroad Office! Simply come in during regular office hours and let us know you need a photo. Please check our hours before coming by. You may also get your passport photo at other places such as Walgreens, CVS, Walmart Photo Center, and most places that have photo services, however there will be a fee.
Do I have to make an appointment to get a passport?

Yes. Many passport application acceptance facilities have limited hours, so in-person appointments (required for first-time passports, renewals or those who were under 16 for previous passport, or for replacing a lost or stolen passport) can be limited and must be scheduled in advance.

The closest application acceptance facility to Purdue is the Lafayette Post Office. You may also search for other facilities on the U.S. Department of State website, here. You can apply at any facility, it does not have to be within your state of residence.

To cast the widest net, look for appointments available farther from your zipcode. If you are applying close the study abroad application deadline, you may need to travel to obtain an earlier appointment.

Do I get my passport at the appointment?
You will not receive your passport at the appointment, the appointment is just to submit your application. Once submitted, you will receive your passport in the mail and it is subject to normal processing times. Plan accordingly!
How much does a passport cost?
A U.S. passport book currently costs $165. Please see fees here to check for any changes or updates. Please note most passport acceptance facilities only accept specific types of payments and often need to be paid by a check (personal, certified, or cashier's) or money order. In most cases, cash, credit, and debit are not accepted.
How long does it take to get a passport?
Routine or normal service to receive a passport is estimated at 8-11 weeks after your appointment. Expedited service, which costs an additional $60, is estimated at 5-7 weeks after your appointment. Please note these times are estimates and processing may take a bit longer. Please check U.S. Department of State website fo most up-to-date processing times.
When do I need my passport by?

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

Some programs, particularly those that will require you to start applying for a visa soon after acceptance, will require you to have your valid passport by the application deadline. Other programs may just require proof you have applied for it by the deadline. In all cases, it is almost always better to apply early.

How long is a passport good for?
Adult passports (received age 17 and older) are good for 10 years. Therefore, even if it's a year or more before you plan to study abroad, it's not too early to think about applying for one!
What is a visa and do I need one?
A visa is a stamp or sticker placed inside your passport that gives you official permission to visit another country and is granted by the government of that country. A visa may not be required for all programs, but if you need one, your study abroad advisor will let you know. Visa processing times vary and requirements also vary by program, so you'll get more information specific to the program you choose. You will need your valid passport before applying for a visa, so this is another reason you want to make sure to have your passport in a timely manner.