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Passports and Visas


A valid, signed passport is necessary to travel from one country to another. Your passport serves as official identification and proof of citizenship. Please make sure that your passport will be valid for the duration of your stay abroad. If it is set to expire within six months of the END DATE of your program, you should begin the renewal process immediately. 

U.S. citizens will find all they need to know about obtaining passports on the U.S. State Department’s website. The U.S. State Department issues U.S. passports to U.S. citizens and nationals only. There are periodic delays in passport processing. Check current processing time estimates on the State Department’s website, and be sure to plan accordingly. 

Non-U.S. citizens should check with their home country’s authority if they will need to renew their passport prior to studying outside of the U.S. 

Your passport is your most important legal document while overseas, so be sure to guard it with care. It is recommended that you make at least three copies of your passport’s photo and information pages (including the visa pages) before you leave to give to your family and program director for safekeeping. The last copy you should take and keep for yourself while abroad, in a safe place. It is also recommended that you keep an electronic copy online, in a location that you know is secure. 

Some countries require foreign nationals to carry their passports with them at all times. Consult your program director about the requirements and expectations in your host country. Always carry your passport when traveling from one country to another. 

Family members should make sure they have valid passports, in case an emergency arises involving their student abroad. 

Lost or stolen passport

If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, you should report the loss immediately to the nearest embassy or consulate of your home country. The embassy or consulate will give you replacement instructions. Having a copy of your passport will facilitate the replacement process. You should always report the theft of a passport to the local police. For U.S. citizens, more detailed instructions are available on the U.S. State Department webpage. For a listing of U.S. consulates and embassies abroad, please visit: 

Please be aware that in some countries, if you lose your passport, you may not be able to obtain a replacement visa. This may restrict your ability to reenter your host country should you exit it, so any travel plans you have outside of the host country could be negatively impacted. 


Duke Immerse will work with you to obtain the necessary visas for travel from the United States to the country in which you will be studying, where necessary, immediately after you have submitted a signed, complete participation agreement. All students must investigate the specific visa requirements to enter their destination country. 

A visa is a special permission to visit a country, issued by the government of that country. Visas come in many forms, but are most often issued as a stamp, sticker, or attachment stapled to your passport. The process of obtaining a visa can vary from filling out a brief form at the airport upon arrival, to the submission of notarized documents and photos at a consulate or embassy several months prior to departure. Check the visa requirements for your host country or countries as soon as you know where you will be studying abroad, so that you can plan your visa/passport processing time accordingly. A passport, valid throughout your planned stay abroad and sometimes for several months afterward, is required for all visa applications. 

While Immerse will support the visa acquisition process, it is also your responsibility to notify Immerse of any special considerations. Do not underestimate the time and effort that will be required to complete the visa process. In the past, students have had difficulty obtaining their visas because they have delayed collecting and submitting the required visa materials in a timely manner. Please start researching your visa needs at the earliest opportunity in order to avoid putting yourself into a stressful situation. 

Students should receive basic information about visa requirements from their study abroad programs. Please keep in mind, though, that it is 100% your responsibility to know and comply with your host country’s immigration laws. Specific visa requirements may vary based on your country of citizenship and/or your destination country, so more documentation than what is listed below may be required. Please note that Duke Visa Services cannot assist you with acquiring a non-U.S. visa stamp. 

Travel Restrictions

For students accepted into a program that includes travel to a country which they cannot enter, Duke Immerse faculty will make a good faith effort to facilitate alternative experiential learning opportunities.