If you do not have a passport or a passport that is not valid 6 month out from your study abroad period or thourgh the intended period of study abroad, begin an application immediately. For detailed information about the application process and the application forms visit the State Department website. You can submit your completed application at either OIE (call for an appointment) or at the Del Mar post office. Be early with your passport application, because that is the document you need in order to obtain a student visa. We cannot do anything on your behalf to expedite the passport issuance process.
Most countries require a visa (often student visas) for semester or full year study. You request a visa by submitting the required documentation (usually passport, acceptance letter from host school/study abroad program, financial statements, medical statements, insurance statements, etc.) to the Embassy or Consulate of the country you will be studying in. In many cases it is now a requirement for student to travel to the Embassy or Consulate to present their papers directly to the visa department. For most TAMIU students that means a trip to Houston. You may request a visa application on-line or from the Embassy or Consulate. It is strongly advised you start completing your visa application and collecting supporting documents before you have received your passport, so that you can submit all documentation immediately upon passport receipt.
Your affiliate program will send information for obtaining your visa acceptance letter. Most of the countries commonly used for study abroad do not require a visa for stays up to three months, thus visas are not usually required for summer programs, but a majority of Latin American, African, Asian, and Oceanic countries require visas of all visitors.
The State Department website has a list of consular offices and visa requirements. Make sure to check with the Embassy or Consulate regarding business hours for the visa section, confirmation of documents and payment needed, etc.
Although no visa is required, a student in the United Kingdom, for example, must register with the police after six months. Check with your program regarding any similar requirements of your host country.
Should you be traveling on a non-U.S. passport, contact the study abroad country embassy or consulate for applicable requirments, they may be different then the requirements for a U.S. passport holder. Dual citizenship students with two passports may travel on whichever one they prefer.