Passports & Visas
A passport is an internationally recognized identity document that verifies your citizenship. You must present your passport each time you enter or leave a country. If you already have a passport, the expiration date needs to be at least six months after your return date from your study abroad program or you will need to renew your passport before departure. Be sure to apply for your passport far enough in advance of your departure to ensure that you receive it on time, taking into considering both passport processing times and visa processing, if a visa is required for your destination (see visa information below).
The information below will help guide you in the passport application process. Please note that the most up-to-date information is located on the Department of State website.
Applying for a New Passport. To apply for a new U.S. passport you must have the following documents and apply in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility. Depending upon where you process your passport application, you may need to schedule an appointment in advance.
- Form DS-11 (Do NOT sign the form until asked to do so by a USPS Representative.)
- One 2" x 2" color passport photo.
- Certified birth certificate, a previous passport, or I.N.S. Certificate of Citizenship.
- Photocopy of a valid driver's license or government issued photo I.D.* (front and back)
*If out of state I.D., you should also have a WKU ID.
Renewing a Passport. To renew a passport, you are required to submit the following documents. Please note that these applications may be mailed directly to The National Passport Processing Center address listed on Form DS-82 without going through a Passport Acceptance Facility.
- Form DS-82 (completed and signed)
- Current U.S. passport
- Two 2''x2''passport photos
For more information on renewing a passport visit the Department of State website.
Passport Fees. Click here for the most current passport fees.
Processing Times. Current processing time is 4 to 6 weeks for normal processing. Expedited Service (2 to 3 weeks) is available for an additional fee; please visit the Department of State website for more information on processing times.
- Call the local Post Office at (270) 796-4091
- Visit the U.S. Department of Travel website
- Call 1-877-487-2778
Depending on the country, length of program, and type of program, you may be required to obtain a visa for your international experience prior to departure. A visa is a stamp or document that is usually placed in your passport which authorizes you to ask for entry into a country at the country’s border—usually leading to a “yes” response. Each country sets its own visa requirements, and the requirements are frequently updated and changed.
If a visa is necessary for your study abroad program, your program coordinator will likely advise you on the visa requirements and application process and provide any necessary documentation of your acceptance for the visa application. In some cases, you may need to acquire the visa on your own. The most accurate and reliable country-specific information on visa requirements for U.S. citizens can be found on the U.S. Department of State website. If, after reviewing the entry/exit requirements, you find that you will need a visa for your study abroad program, visit the website of the embassy or consulate of the country to which you will be traveling to determine what kind of visa you will need and how to apply. If you have trouble finding the information or if the information is confusing, email or call the embassy or consulate for clarification.
Be sure to apply for your visa in a timely manner. Visa processing times vary depending upon the country, consulate, time of year, and type of visa needed. If you are required to travel to the consulate or embassy to obtain your visa or multiple visas are required for your program, consider using a visa processing service. Consult with your program provider for recommendations.
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