Passport & Visa Info

F-1 Visa International Students

Information on passports and visas will vary depending on your home country citizenship and which passport you plan to travel with. If you are a F-1 visa holder you’ll be required to meet with Ms. Palmer prior to leaving campus the semester prior to your off-campus study experience. During this meeting you’ll review your travel documents, F-1 visa expiration date, and other relevant information.

Passports for U.S. Citizens

A passport is the document from your home country that confirms your citizenship. You need a current passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date your program ends. U.S. citizens should allow up to six weeks to receive a passport and should expedite any renewal or first time passport requests.

To obtain a U.S. passport for the first time, you need to apply in person. And can follow these guidelines. You can apply in person at the Lewiston Post Office, 49 Ash Street, 207-783-8551. Call ahead to inquire about when they accept passport applications. The State Department Passport Services Office outlines how to apply for a new passport or to renew an existing passport.


A visa is a document, provided by the country where you will be studying, which confirms your legitimate status as an international student. You need a valid passport in order to apply for a visa; good for 6+ months after the end of your time in that country. Some visas are free and easy to acquire, while others may be expensive and/or require a lot of documentation and planning ahead. Some countries do not require a visa. How you apply for a visa depends on your citizenship.

The information below is intended to supplement the student visa requirements and application information provided by the countries below and your international institution or program. The advice reflects our “best and most up-to-date understanding” of the student visa process, but this process often changes and sometimes varies by consulate, e.g. the Boston Italian consulate versus the New York Italian consulate. Be sure to confirm these instructions on the consulate’s official web pages for visas and/or with your program provider. You find these instructions by going to the web pages of your study abroad country’s embassy in Washington.  Consult the Directory of embassies. Once on the embassy website, click on its entry for: Consular Services, Visas, or Consulates. (Be sure to check that if as a Bates student you are eligible to apply for a visa through the relevant Boston consulate)

Your program or university will tell you if you need a visa. Your program may facilitate the visa process for you.

  • Embassy/Consulate Contact Information: Consult the web site maintained by for the web sites of embassies in the United States. Once on the embassy web site, click on the “visa” or “consulate” link and follow the instructions.
  • FBI Background Check: Some visas require an FBI Background Check. It is best to follow the advice of your study abroad program on how to complete the background check.  The FBI web site provides the requisite information.  You will need to be fingerprinted as a part of the FBI Background Check.   The closest fingerprint facility is the Lewiston Police Department, 171 Park Street; (M-F, 8-12; 1-4).  It is best to call ahead: 207-513-3001; mention that you need finger prints for a  student visa. You may also use an FBI-approved channeler to expedite the process.  The closest channeler for a Bates student to use is Identogo (Enter zip code for location).  It is best to used the channeler recommended by your program.

Staff in the Center for Global Education are available to help you during the process of applying for passports and visas. But we are not experts and as we work with many different countries we won’t know all the ins and outs of each process. We’re here to work with you on this process and are often able to give you ideas on what has worked before and can help translate some of the information requests you’ll receive.

Additional Visa Resources

IES Abroad’s Study Abroad Student Visas & ACCeSS – a resources provided by IES Abroad. Information is relevant to all students but may outline different policies based on IES’ preferences.


Customs Departments monitor what you bring into a country. Each country has its own regulations. U. S. Customs provides information for travelers exiting and entering the United States. Check with the embassies/consulates of countries you’ll be visiting for their regulations.