Travel Documents for your Study Abroad Trip
Of all the items you need to make sure you have on that packing checklist of yours, the most important category is that of travel documents. By study abroad travel documents, we mean all the documents you will need to enter the country in which you will be studying, any additional documents – letters, ID cards – that you may have to produce to authorities or other while there.
The Travel Documents You Cannot do Without
You should apply as early as possible for your passport, as it may take up to 10 weeks to receive the final document in the mail. Check with the country you will be studying in and see their passport requirements. Some may ask that you have a passport for at least six months after your trip is complete.
- Student Visa
Each country’s visa has a different application, but you must get one if you want to study abroad. You will have liaised with the embassy of the country you want to study about what their requirements are for a student visa. Be prepared to apply for your student visa at least two months in advance. You will have to supply the embassy with proof of your residence in your home country, intent to depart from the country upon completion of your studies, proof of financial support, a passport, and an acceptance letter to your college.
- Boarding pass and e-ticket print out
- Health Insurance Card and Health Documents
You need to bring this proof of health insurance while in your host country plus other documentation related to your health, for example: prescription medication. Bring refills if possible, along with a letter from your doctor for the medications you are bringing. Check with the embassy of your country of study about bringing medications into their country (prescriptions can go in your checked luggage) and if necessary, proof of vaccinations. Even if you’re not studying in a country that requires this, it may be helpful to have in case you decide to travel to one during your studies. Some colleges may also require certain vaccinations, so make sure you check with your school too and obtain proof that you have received the vaccinations your country of study and college has required.
- Proof of Age Card: Driver’s License or National ID Card
A proof of age card can help identify you in your country of study and serve as age proof when you want to visit a club, for example. Your country’s identification card may not be accepted in your country of study, so check with your school in the USA about ID options.
- ISIC (International Student Identity Card)
- Valid Driver’s License
You can usually rent a car and drive with a valid driver’s license from your home country but there are some rental agencies who do not rent cars to drivers under 25 years old. Other car rental agencies will rent to people under 25 but may charge a higher fee. Other agencies will rent to young people but will charge a higher fee.
- Cash (exchange $50 to $100 USD – bring enough to use in case of an emergency, but not more money than you can aﬀord to lose)
- Credit card (notify your bank that you’ll be abroad before you leave to avoid your account being frozen)
- Debit card
- Travel itinerary
- Travel tickets (if you’re taking a train or other transportation following your arrival in the host country)
- Copy of birth certiﬁcate (this is optional, but a good idea).
LASTLY – Make Copies of Travel Documents
You need to take one set of these documents, and originals such as passport, student visa, etc. with you on your carry-on luggage. Make two photocopies of all your travel documents in case of an emergency. Leave one copy with a trusted person at home and carry the other with you away from your other documents. That way, in case you lose your travel documents or get them stolen from you, you won’t have to go through the hassle of regaining them in a foreign country.
The process to study abroad can seem like a lot but planning ahead can save you from traveling stress when you’re ready to begin your studies abroad.
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