Passports and Visas

Traveling outside of the United States requires a passport and sometimes a visa. Applying for these important documents can take time so it is important to start early. Don't wait, start now!

NOTE: The Department of State has indicated that passport processing time is now around 18 weeks! Apply or renew ASAP to avoid any delays or disruptions to your international travel plans.

What is a passport?

A passport is a document that is issued by a country's government to citizens in order to verify the identity and nationality of an individual for the purpose of international travel. You will need a passport to participate in an international education abroad program that requires travel. U.S. citizens, can visit the U.S. Department of State Passport Services website for more information on how to apply for or renew a passport. 

Here is some basic information and tips: 

  • Apply early: It can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks (or more) to receive your passport when applying for the first or renewing. You can pay to expediate the process, but even that service can take 4 to 6 weeks depending on various facotrs impacting processing times. This process is out of both your hands and ours, so save any chance of frustration and apply or renew as soon as you can!

  • Passport photos: You must provide a photo with your application or renewal and there are specific regulations that apply to passport photos. You can get passport photos taken professionally at many drugstores, post offices, and even on-campus at some universities. You can get passport photos taken at SUNY Oswego in the ID and Meal Plan Serivces office in 503 Culkin Hall. 

  • Passport book vs. passport card: What is the difference between a passport book and card? A passport book will be required when traveling internationally by air. However, there are some countries that will allow U.S. citizens to enter with only their passport card when entering by land or sea (ex. Canda, Mexico, The Caribbean, Bermuda). For study abroad, you should apply for a passport book but you may want to consider also getting a passport card. A passport card can be convenient to carry with you while abroad, serving as your official identification while keeping your passport book safe and sound back at your hotel or residence hall. 

  • Non-U.S. citizens: If you are not a U.S. citizen, passport information for your nationality may vary. Your program coordinator can help with your specific situation.

What is a visa?