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Passports and Visas

Passport Process

You must have a valid U.S. passport to travel abroad. To view information about how to receive your passport, please click here. Learn more about the passport process below. Be sure to obtain your passport as soon as possible, as it can take weeks for it to be processed and sent to you. Make sure to get your passport photos taken. The Title Office in the Stark County Clerk of Courts Office is at 513 E. Main Street in Alliance and they take passport photos for approximately $15. Walgreens and Wal-Mart in Alliance also process passport photos.

After you have your photos, you should apply for your passport. If this is your first passport application, you must apply in person. Make sure you have your state-issued birth certificate (with raised seal) and photo ID so that you will be ready to get your passport. Please have a copy of the front and back of your photo ID available for your appointment. There is also a processing fee of about $145. If you are completing a renewal passport application, you can mail the application in for processing.

  • The Alliance post office, located at 36 S. Arch, processes passport applications by appointment only. The passport processing hours are Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. - noon. Please call (330) 821-3560 to make an appointment.
  • The Stark County Clerk of Courts Office, located in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Office on 513 E. Main Street in Alliance, processes passport applications without appointments Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. You can contact them at (330) 823-7072.

To download a passport application and obtain all the information you need about getting or renewing a passport, visit the U.S. Department of State Passport Services.

Visa Process

Most students going abroad for a semester or longer do need a visa. Often times students going on a short-term program, less than 90 days, do not need a visa, and some countries do not require visas at all! It is your responsibility to determine if the country you are traveling to requires you to obtain a student visa for your length of stay. Visit the U.S. Department of State (and then click on your destination country “Entry/Exit Requirements”) to find out.

  1. What is a visa?

    A visa is an official stamp or document affixed within a passport or given to you as a separate document that has been issued by a foreign government granting permission for entry specifically to study, work or live in a particular country. Consular offices for specific countries have the right to request various documents or information before they grant a visa to an individual. Because student visas differ from tourist, business, short-term, or other types of visas, you need to understand that the documents you may be required to present to obtain your visa will be related to your status as a student. If you plan to work, do an internship or something similar, you might need another type of visa if these activities are not covered by a particular country’s student visa.

  2. Whose responsibility is it to apply for a student visa?

    It is your responsibility to find out if there is a visa requirement for your destination country, how to obtain that visa (what documents are needed and where to send those documents/find out if you need to appear in person at a consulate), and you need to complete the necessary steps to ensure you have your visa before you depart! The Center for Global Education is here to help you with this process in different ways.

    The CGE and USAC staff (if you are going on a USAC program) can answer certain questions and help you find information (i.e., where is the nearest Japanese consulate?) but neither the CGE nor USAC can complete the visa process for you.

  3. When do I apply for a student visa?

    The actual date depends on the individual consulate requirements, but do not wait until then. Start gathering the required documents for your student visa application the moment you apply for your study abroad program and you are sure you need a student visa/are aware of the required documents for that visa. Each consulate sets its own timeline for accepting and processing student visa applications. Typically you may not be allowed to apply more than 60-90 days before your program begins (for example, if your program starts on January 15, the earliest you could apply for your visa could be November 15, or possibly October 15). But you should know the latest date for submission of your visa application. If the consulate says apply “at least” 60 days before your program departure, this means no less than 60 days, and for some consulates this can be no less than 120 days before departure! For some consulates, processing a visa application can take several weeks, and some consulates stop processing visa applications 4-6 weeks before the departure date. To avoid getting trapped in this situation, submit your visa application at the earliest date the consulate will accept it!

  4. How do I apply for a student visa?
    • Determine if you need a visa for the length of time you will be in a certain country
    • Determine which consulate(s) you will use to apply for your visa and the locations of those consulates
    • Obtain the most recent visa instructions from the consulates (usually online)
    • Submit your visa application(s) along with your passport and other necessary documents to the consulate according to the consulate guidelines (either in person at the consulate, or by mail).