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College of Education Study Abroad Program

Visa Information

Some semester-length programs may require a student visa. While our office is available to provide resources and assistance with this process, it is the student’s responsibility to determine if the program of interest requires a visa.

Visa Instructions

* Please allow AT LEAST 4-6 weeks processing time for your visa before your departure.

  • Spain: Visa appointments for the Spanish Consulate in Chicago should be made online using their scheduling system
  • Italy: Visa appointments for the Italian Consulate in Chicago should be made online using their scheduling system. Please watch out for an additional confirmation email within the week of your appointment date. If you forget to confirm your appointment, your appointment will be cancelled. 
  • Costa Rica: No visa required. HOWEVER, you will be sent an important document that you must take with you through customs upon your arrival in Costa Rica stating that you are a student at San Joaquin Institute and allowing your stay for the semester.
  • Ireland: No visa required.

* If you do not see an available visa appointment in time for your departure for Spain or Italy, you will need to continue checking their calendar using the online system until you find an available appointment. There are no walk-in appointments. 

What is a Visa?

A visa is an endorsement on a passport provided by the government of the host country, indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country. The type of visa is typically determined according to the purpose of your visit to the country, such as: tourism, attending school, relocating for work, etc.

How do I apply for a Visa?

It is your responsibility to determine if a visa is required. To determine if a visa is required, you should consult the consulate or embassy of the host country. U.S. citizens can also find additional visa and country info on the U.S. State Department website.

If your program of study requires a visa, we strongly encourage you to apply as soon as you find out about your acceptance into the program and have access to the required materials. Failure to obtain a visa, or the correct visa, may lead to denial of entry or criminal charges and would not result in any program refunds.

If a visa is required, be sure to research what materials are required as part of your visa application. Some countries may require a bank statement showing sufficient funds to study abroad, acceptance letters from host institutions, proof of health insurance, etc. The most up-to-date information on what will be needed for your visa application can be found on the host country’s consulate or embassy website. You will also be able to determine from the website if you need to make an in-person appointment with the consulate or embassy. If you need assistance, there are fee-based companies (visa agencies) that can aid you in the visa process. 

Detailed Visa Information for Non-U.S. Citizens

 If you are not a U.S. citizen, it is your responsibility to know and understand the rules and regulations of leaving the U.S. to study within another country. You must follow the visa regulations for the country that issues your passport. For example, a Chinese student enrolled at the University of Illinois who wants to study abroad on an Illinois program in Italy should follow Italy’s visa requirements for Chinese citizens.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and plan to return to the University of Illinois after studying abroad, please remember the following:

  • You must be registered as a full-time student (minimum of 12 credit hours) while abroad to maintain your status with the University.
  • Carry all necessary documents and authorizations to re-enter the U.S. after your study abroad program ends. You may not reenter the US past the program end date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • If your entry visa were to expire while you are abroad, you must return to your home country to obtain a new entry visa. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you return to the U.S.
  • Your I-20/DS-2019 must have a travel signature less than one year old to return to the U.S.

If you are a non-U.S. citizens and require more information on what you may need to return to the U.S. from your study abroad program, please email International Student and Scholar Services at