(May 20, 2020) Because of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, U.S. passport operations are extremely limited. Expedited services are not available. Regular passport processing is experiencing delays of several months. If you need to apply for a new passport or renew an old passport, we encourage you to wait until the State Department resumes normal passport operations. Visit the U.S. Department of State's Passport website for details and updates, and contact your program manager if you are concerned about obtaining a passport in time for your program requirements.
You will need a valid* passport to study abroad. If you don’t have a valid passport and are even considering study abroad, you should apply for or renew your passport as early as possible and plan to have your valid passport in hand by the program application deadline, as visa paperwork will be required at that time. Getting a passport can take up to eight weeks with regular processing or up to three weeks with expedited processing for an additional fee.
If you need a passport to meet a visa application deadline in less than 4 weeks, or you need a passport for international program travel in less than 2 weeks, you must follow the steps below immediately:
- Make the first available appointment with the Regional Passport Agency closest to you. The 24-hour automated appointment system phone number is (877) 487-2778. Do not simply mail or submit a passport application to any agency with the extra fee to expedite; you must make an appointment to apply through a Regional Agency to obtain a passport in time.
- Contact Education Abroad to request a letter from us explaining that you need a passport in less than 4 weeks to meet a visa-related deadline or that you need a passport for your study abroad program that begins in less than 2 weeks.
- Review passport application instructions and fees on the State Department’s website. Select “Expedited at Agency” for the processing type.
- Gather the required materials and check your Regional Passport Agency’s website for any additional instructions.
- Bring your appointment confirmation number, letter from Education Abroad, and passport application materials to your appointment and wait for your passport to be processed. If you are not able to pick up the passport in person, you will need to submit a pre-paid USPS Priority Mail Express return envelope with your passport application.
United States citizens can obtain a passport application and view procedures on the State Department’s travel website.
If you’re a freshman or first-year transfer student at Temple and have never applied for a passport, make sure to apply for Temple’s Passport Scholarship to help cover the cost of your passport fees.
A student visa is required for study in Japan for a semester or academic year. Before you can apply for the student visa, you must apply for and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the Japanese government. Specific instructions for the COE application are made available within the program application online one month before the deadline, and Education Abroad will assist you throughout the process. Gathering the required materials for the COE may take some time. Note that one requirement is providing original financial documentation which may require you to visit your financial aid office, your bank, and/or your parent/guardian's bank. We strongly encourage you to start your program application early to gain access to the COE instructions and leave sufficient time to gather the required materials by the following firm deadlines:
- Fall Semester/Academic Year: May 1
- Spring Semester: October 1
Once you receive your COE, Education Abroad will provide instructions on how to obtain your student visa. The entire process of applying for and receiving a COE and visa can take several months.
Processing times vary by student citizenship and consulate, and consulates base their processing times on the official program dates rather than individual travel plans. Therefore, we strongly discourage students from traveling outside of the U.S. between the program application deadline and the official program start date. If you must be abroad between the program application deadline and the official program start date, please contact Education Abroad immediately to discuss the feasibility of your plans.
Here are some tips to make the visa application process go smoothly:
- If you don’t already have a passport, apply for it now so you’ll have it by the time you apply for the program.
- If you already have a passport, double-check the expiration date. Your passport will have to be valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program.
- If you're an international student, make sure that your F-1 will be valid from the program application deadline through your program's end date. If your F-1 will expire before your program's end date, please contact Education Abroad immediately. Also, consult your international student office regarding your re-entry into the U.S.
- Plan to take responsibility for your own visa paperwork, as busy as you are. For many students, dealing with the visa process is their first introduction to the host country and can be a great learning experience--think of it as practice for studying abroad!