Frequently Asked Questions

The university strongly encourages travelers to obtain required and recommended immunizations. Well in advance of their travel, students are encouraged to schedule a consultation with the McKinley Travel Clinic; other travelers should visit their health care provider. Travelers can also learn about immunizations and other strategies for staying healthy on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emergency Traveler’s Health webpage.

Review the detailed visa information for non-U.S. citizens on the Passports & Visas page of the Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange website. There are instructions there about both maintaining your U.S. visa and also about obtaining a foreign visa.

Questions about your U.S. visa can be addressed to International Student and Scholar Services.

In order to return to the United States, students must have a passport with validity for at least 6 months upon reentry into the US, a valid entry visa (in most cases), and the valid immigration document (usually I-20 or DS-2019) which will require a travel signature (signed within the past year by a DSO/ARO). This may not be a comprehensive list, so it is recommended that students contact International Student and Scholar Services prior to international travel to ensure all documentation is in order.

We recommend that family members and friends review our site and encourage their family member or friend to do the same. Please be advised that International Safety and Security adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (commonly referred to as FERPA), "a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records" (U.S. Department of Education). Due to these laws and guidelines, we cannot disclose your students’ records, even to a parent or guardian, without the student’s prior written consent. As such, we encourage you to share your questions and concerns directly with your family member or friend.

We also encourage family members and friends to visit the Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange website's Families & Friends section, which contains specific resources for those individuals that have a family member or friend participating in education abroad.

Emergency issuance of a passport can be arranged through the U.S. Department of State for serious illness, injury, or death of an immediate family member abroad. Review the U.S. Department of State Life or Death Emergencies webpage for more information and guidance on the process.

Contact the nearest embassy or consulate to have the passport replaced. Review the U.S. Department of State's Lost or Stolen Passports Abroad webpage for more information and guidance on the process.

Note: Lost or Stolen passports are not normally considered as an emergency. Unless there are mitigating circumstances (more than scheduled travel), Consular Services will not issue a passport after office hours, on weekends, or on American or local holidays. If travel is scheduled before normal working hours, travelers should be prepared to change their itinerary.

The U.S. Department of State encourages travelers to fix incorrect passport biographical information prior to travel. The U.S. Government cannot guarantee how foreign governments will respond to biographical errors, either upon arrival or departure. The nearest passport agency to Champaign, IL is the Chicago Passport Office. If the students arrive when the office opens, the corrections may be completed the same day. The request may also be mailed to Passport Services, if time allows. For additional information on correcting data and printing errors on passports, please visit the Travel.State.Gov website.

Travelers must obtain passports independently. The university has no obligation, responsibility, or authority related to passports. Review the U.S. Department of State's How to Apply for a Passport webpage for more information and guidance on the process.

Travelers are responsible for ensuring their passports are valid for the duration of their travel. Please review U.S. Department of State Passports for more information and guidance on the process.

  • Many countries require that passport expiration dates extend six (6) months past the return travel date. If this is the case, airlines have been known to refuse travel.
  • Many countries require that passports contain at least two (2) blank stamp pages for entry. U.S. Department of State is no longer issuing extra pages for passports; travelers lacking two pages will have to apply for a new passport.
  • Passports obtained before the age of 16 expire after five (5) years instead of ten (10) years for other passports.

The university does not provide guidance on visas. Travelers should review the Get Required Documents information on the U.S. Department of State's Traveler’s Checklist webpage. Students can also check with their Education Abroad Office or program providers for information but should verify information through official sources as well.

Some countries require proof of insurance before issuing a visa to travelers. Travelers enrolled in the university-approved international insurance receive a Verification Letter that should be used as proof of insurance. The Verification Letter arrives in an email from

Note: The email is sent automatically after enrollment; travelers should search their official email prior to contacting International Safety and Security requesting assistance.