5 Things To Do Before Studying Abroad:

2. Applying for a Passport

If you don’t already have one, a passport is something you should look into way in advance of actually needing it for travel. I’m not talking two months before you leave home, I mean eight to 10 months in advance. Processing for a passport application can easily take six weeks to two months. Plus, you will need a passport to complete many other parts of your abroad preparations from booking flights to applying for a visa. Everything you need to know as far as what qualifies as evidence of U.S. citizenship and personal identification, and what size and quality your photos need to be can all be found at travel.state.gov. Lastly, if you do already have a passport, make sure it’s valid for at least six months beyond the entire time you’re going to be abroad.

To give you a basic idea of how simple it is to get a U.S. passport, below I’ve listed the suggested six steps to follow according to the U.S. State Department website.

STEP 1: Complete and Submit Form DS-11: Application for A US Passport – Don’t worry, it’s a basic form with a complicated name. You can get the form online, but you have to present it in person.

STEP 2: Submit Evidence of U.S. Citizenship – This includes:

  • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
  • Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Certificate of Citizenship

STEP 3: Present Identification at the Time of Application – This includes:

  • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Valid Driver's License
  • Current Government ID (city, state or federal)
  • Current Military ID (military and dependents)

STEP 4: Submit a Photocopy of the Identification Document(s) Presented (STEP 3)

STEP 5: Pay the Applicable Fee

STEP 6: Provide a Passport Photo You can get this at almost any store with a photo counter and more than likely, also at the location where you present you application.