Travel Planning

Some countries will require that you obtain a visa in order to enter the country in which you will be studying.  To find out whether you will need a visa for your program, please contact your study abroad advisor.

American Passport

US citizens can fill out an online application to obtain an American passport. Applications are also accepted at the following Gainesville locations. Once you have applied for a passport, you can check on the status of the application by phone (1-877-487-2778) or on-line: http://travel.state.gov/

Applications are accepted at the UF Campus location:

  • Mail & Document Services 
    715 Radio Road
    Phone #:  (352) 392-1134
    Monday – Friday 9 AM – 3:00 PM

Please note: 

  1. Cost of the passport is $110.00 +25.00 + $7.47 for photo (Each amount to be paid separately)
    Expected receipt: 4 – 6 weeks
  2. If you need to expedite your passport, it will cost an extra $60.00. Expected receipt: 2 weeks
  3. Birth Certificate needs to be certified, NOT notarized
  4. Copy of Driver’s License, front and back
  5. One (1) Passport Photo

Applications are accepted at the following Gainesville locations:

  • Northwest Post Office:  by appointment, please phone in request
    4111 NW 16 BLVD (in the Millhopper Shopping Center)
    Phone #:  (352) 377-7620
    Monday – Friday 10 AM – 3 PM
  • University Station Post Office:  by appointment, please phone in request
    1630 NW 1 Avenue (Behind the Swamp Restaurant)
    Phone #:  (352) 377-7620
    Monday – Friday 10 AM – 3 PM

Please note: 

  1. Cost of the passport is $110.00 + $25.00 + $15.00 for photos, by CASH, CHECK or DEBIT CARD.  (Each amount to be paid separately) Expected receipt: 4 – 6 weeks; BUT, can take up to 8 weeks
  2. If you need to expedite your passport, it will cost an extra $60.00. Expected receipt: 2 weeks
  3. Birth Certificate needs to be certified, NOT notarized
  4. Copy of Driver’s License, front and back
  5. One (1) Passport Photo

Immigration Abroad

Dress neatly and look presentable on the day you travel.  Create a good impression for immigration officers and other airport staff.  Pay careful attention to all signs in the waiting area to determine where you should be.  Answer any questions the immigration officer asks you honestly and to the best of your ability.  Pay close attention to anything you are asked to do (move along, stop, wait here, etc.). Have your passport and other travel documents readily available so that you can move through Immigration as quickly as possible.

US Customs

Upon arriving in the U.S. you will have to have your bags screened by the U.S. Customs Agency. Follow U.S. regulations and laws carefully. You can face criminal charges if you attempt to bring illegal materials into the U.S.

During your flight you will be given a form to fill out for declaring all items that you purchased abroad and are bringing into the country.  You will pay a tax on any items of higher values as well as when your total amount of goods is over predetermined amounts. There are other regulations as well.  Do not attempt to bring illegal materials into the United States such as narcotics, animals, animal skins, plants or produce.  There are additional regulations and limits on cigarettes and alcohol. Fraudulent claims can result in legal action brought against you by U.S. Customs. 

Flights

When scheduling flights for your program, please double-check the dates of your program inclusive of any time changes you will encounter. Be sure to factor in orientation and exam dates.  In addition to knowing the dates and times for your flights, be sure to understand the baggage policies for your airlines and pack accordingly. For more tips and tricks on packing and flights, be sure to read our pre-departure guide.

Traveling Abroad

Before you leave, find out where your on-site orientation meets. Find out also whether you will be picked up from the airport or another location altogether.

Give yourself plenty of extra time to move about the first day. You should arrive at least a half-day (if not a full day) before orientation.  You will need the extra time to overcome jet lag, adjust to your new environment, and size up the local transportation and flow of the local city.

Consulates and embassies are your liaisons should you encounter difficulties.  Locate and register with your consulate or embassy in advance of your departure. Provide them with your local contact information.  Speak with your program coordinator or host contact after you arrive to find the location of the nearest consulate or embassy. If you encounter problems while abroad, contact your home country’s consulate or embassy.

Airport basics 

Airports can be confusing, especially in a country whose language and culture you are not accustomed to.  Ask your travel agent ahead of time for a copy of the airport map or description of the airport layout. If you get lost or if something unexpected occurs, visit the information counter.  Most airports have staff that speak English. You may find it helpful to travel with other people attending your program.

Remember that airports are potential crime areas.  Be careful with your baggage.  Never leave bags unattended, and stay away from any unattended bags or packages in public places.  Do not check luggage for anyone else onto airplanes, trains, or buses. 

Do not borrow suitcases and do not allow anybody, not even a friend, to put anything in your luggage.

Packing for the return trip

If you are like most student travelers, you will accumulate a large collection of souvenirs and gifts while abroad.  Remember to leave space in your luggage when you depart in order to fit your gifts.  If you find that there is still not enough space, consider giving away or discarding any toiletries brought with you; you can replace these easily upon return.  You may want to donate some clothes to charitable organizations (such as the local equivalent of our Goodwill).  If you have a lot of souvenirs and gifts, you may want to ship them to an address back home.