Passports and Visas

The time to apply for a passport is now!

Obtaining a passport has always been a very crucial part of the study abroad process; COVID-19 has delayed passport processing times significantly. The U.S. State Department has announced that it now takes an average of 16 weeks—4 months!—to process a passport.

Apply for your passport now—even if you’re not 100% sure about studying abroad.

If you are considering studying and/or traveling abroad in the coming year, you should apply for your passport as soon as you’re done reading this paragraph. No, really — many countries also require that you obtain a student visa to study abroad, and you will need your passport before you can apply for your visa.

Other things to consider:

  1. You must apply for a passport in person if this is your first passport or you are renewing a passport that was issued when you were under 16.
  2. You can search for the nearest location to apply for a passport on the U.S. Department of State website.
  3. If you currently have a passport, make sure that it is valid for at least 6 months after you return from abroad.

Expedite both the processing time and the shipping time.

You need to expedite every aspect of your passport process. Now that travel restrictions are being lifted, many students who want to study abroad will be applying or renewing their passports at the same time.

Expedited passport service is $60, and it does not include expedited shipping. The State Department recommends paying the extra fee to ensure expedited delivery of your passport via mail within 1-2 days after it’s been processed.

Non-U.S. passports

Those with non-U.S. passports will need to check with their home country about the passport renewal requirements and processing times if their passports are due to expire within the next year.


A valid passport is required to enter most foreign countries. U.S. citizens can find the passport application and instructions on the U.S. Department of State's website. Non-U.S. citizens should consult their home country's Embassy for rules and regulations on passports and visas.

One Card Services offers passport photo services on campus. Photo processing fees can be paid for via Spidercard account, cash (exact change), or check (payable to University of Richmond). Allow 10-15 minutes for processing time.


Some students will be required to obtain a student visa in order to enter the host country. Your study abroad advisor will tell you if you are required to obtain a visa and, if so, will give you further instructions. The visa is usually a stamp imprinted on a page of your passport.