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Passports

If you already have a passport

  • Verify that your passport expires no less than six months after the completion of your travels.
  • For example, if your study tour ends on January 1, 2021, then your passport must not expire prior to July 1, 2021.

  • Check to be sure your passport has one completely blank page marked "Visas" for each country you will be visiting during your trip.
  • The Amendments and Endorsement page at the back of the passport cannot be used for visas. Visa page inserts have been discontinued by the U.S. Department of State, and U.S. passport holders lacking enough visa pages for upcoming travel will need to apply for a new passport. Frequent travelers may opt for a larger, 52-page passport book, although requests are subject to supply limitations.

  • Provide the CAU office with a photocopy of the photo page of your passport at least two months prior to your departure.

If you need to obtain or renew your passport

  • Please begin the process right away. Currently, the standard processing time is six to eight weeks for routine passport applications and no more than three weeks for expedited service.
  • If you do not have a passport, you can obtain one from the U.S. State Department Passport Agencies, many federal and state courts, and some Class I post offices. For the location nearest you, visit the U.S. State Department's travel website.

    The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) can answer any questions you have about obtaining a U.S. passport. The NPIC can be contacted on its toll-free telephone number: 877.487.2778. Operators are available to answer questions Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Eastern Time, except federal holidays, and automated information is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Visas

Visa requirements vary from country to country. Most single-entry tourist visas can be obtained when you disembark the plane at your destination. After purchasing your visa (most cost between $25-50, and are valid for 30 days) you will follow instructions and go through customs and immigration.

If you prefer to obtain your visa prior to departure, you will need to complete a visa application and send your passport to the country's consular office closest to where you live and arrange for its return prior to your departure.

Citizens of other countries other than the U.S. should check with the nearest consulate for specific visa entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangement and any travel prior to or after the program.

Additional information will be included in the Travel Information mailing you will receive approximately four months prior to your departure.

Important documents

We suggest that you make two photocopies of your passport and important documents before you leave home. Bring one copy with you (stored separately from the originals) and leave another copy at home with your family and friends in case of an emergency.

Flights

Once your study tour is confirmed, you can secure your airline tickets. In order to give you as much flexibility as possible with the variety of air travel options, you will make your own air arrangements for your program.

Although CAU does not book air tickets, there are many convenient sources for making air arrangements: You may work with your local travel agent, call the airlines directly, or go online to book through airlines' websites or general travel sites.

If you plan to use frequent flier miles, you will need to contact the airlines directly.

Please return the requested Flight and Travel Arrangement form to the CAU office once you have confirmed your arrangements.

Travel insurance

We strongly advise you to purchase travel cancellation insurance in case you cannot go on your study tour.

Unexpected changes in travelers' lives, newer and more restrictive airline penalties, earlier and larger nonrefundable payments to tour operators and hotels, and volatile times make such insurance particularly wise. CAU can rarely recover money we have paid in your name after the full payment date.

Money

U.S. cash is generally not accepted in foreign countries, so you should plan to exchange a quantity of U.S. dollars to the local currency.

Bring new U.S. bills to use for currency exchange, as overly worn bills are sometimes not accepted.

Money can be exchanged at international airports, and the group hotels are at a rate slightly less favorable than the official bank rate.

Keep your receipts when changing money—you may need to show them if you have foreign currency left over and wish to convert it back into U.S. dollars when you return.

Credit cards

Credit cards with smart chips are accepted in virtually all hotels, most restaurants, and large shops. The credit card company will often assess a foreign exchange surcharge for credit card purchases or cash advances.

We recommend that you photocopy your credit cards, and take a copy with you, along with the telephone numbers needed to report lost or stolen credit cards. Prior to leaving home, it is important that you contact your credit card companies, as well as the bank that issued your ATM card, and advise them of your travel plans to avoid triggering a fraud alert.