Traveling Outside the U.S.
Here are some travel tips to prepare your for your study abroad experience.
Anyone studying abroad needs a passport.
Your passport identifies you as a U.S. citizen with full rights to travel outside the country. You will need to show it when you leave and re-enter the U.S. and at most other international borders. International situations can change rapidly and without warning. It is important to be informed of entry and exit procedures of your host country. Carry your passport whenever you plan to travel from one country to another.
Apply for a Passport
Adult passports are good for ten years. If you already have a passport, check the expiration date to make sure it will be valid for at least six months beyond your expected return date , as some countries may refuse to issue you a visa if your passport expires within that time frame.
If you do not already have a passport, apply for one immediately. It can take six to eight weeks to get a new passport or renew an old one.
In Grand Forks, there are two issuing bodies:
- County Tax Office at 151 S 4th St
- U.S. Postal Service at 2501 28th Ave S
The process will go much more quickly if you have already completed your application and bring all the necessary additional documentation with you when you go. To download an application and view a list of required documentation visit the passport information website. New passports generally costs $135, not including the cost for obtaining required documents and pictures.
When you receive your passport, sign it immediately. Without your signature, your passport is invalid.
Keep a Copy
Keep a photocopy of your passport picture page and any visa pages and paperwork in a separate, safe place. Leave a copy at home with a trusted person as well. If your passport is lost or stolen, having a copy of the original greatly expedites the replacement process.
To find out if you need a visa for your study abroad program, visit the website of the host country’s consulate to the United States. There should be a section dedicated to visas. Alternatively you may have to call the consulate directly.
Apply for a Visa
You will not be able to apply for a visa until you have been accepted by the host institution. Most visa applications will require a copy of your acceptance letter, as well as proof of financial stability, a local address in that country where you can be reached during your stay, proof of insurance coverage, and one or more official passport-sized ID photos. There is often an additional processing fee. You may also be required to hand deliver your passport to the consulate.
If you have any questions about the visa process the Education Abroad office will be able to provide you with limited assistance, but please understand that getting a visa is ultimately your own responsibility.
You are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the program site, as well as for any extracurricular excursions while abroad.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) makes you eligible for discounts on tickets (air, land, and sea) purchased through certain student travel agencies, as well as discounts at participating museums, restaurants, and other attractions. Going through a student-orientated travel agency has other advantages as well, they are familiar with your needs, and can often offer you more flexibility and lower change fees.
Student Discount Flights
STA Travel and Student Universe are two of the websites that offer students discounts on flights. These flights may often be cheaper than what you can find elsewhere, but often have out of the way routes or longer layovers.
Planning Your Travel
- Plan your travel as soon as possible but do not buy your ticket before you have been accepted to the program.
- Consider a roundabout route (for instance stopping in Reykjavik, Iceland on your way to Oslo).
- Evaluate local train and bus schedules since some programs are not located near major international airports.
- Get advice from other students who have traveled to your host country and international students here at UND.
Students are always asking what they should bring with them when they leave to study abroad. Obviously, you can't bring everything and please leave Fido at home (not pets are allowed on study abroad programs).
Here are a couple of websites with helpful packing tips:
Watch this video to hear some personal tips and tricks from UND students who have traveled abroad.