Passports, Visas and other Documentation
First, you need to get a passport if you don't already have one. A passport is a small booklet that contains vital information about you and your citizenship, which is required any time you leave or enter your own or another country. You will have to show your passport at the airport or other departure point as you leave the U.S. and again as you enter another country. To get a passport, you must apply at the appropriate courthouse or post office. In Milledgeville, the only passport facility is found on the third floor of the Baldwin County Courthouse at the office of the Clerk of Superior Court. The application fee is $135 for first-time applicants and must be accompanied by a completed application, proof of citizenship (i.e. birth certificate), two 2"x2" (passport size) photos, and a picture ID (i.e. driver's license). For more information on obtaining or renewing a passport, please visit the Department of State Web site.
For most semester or year study abroad programs, and possibly a few summer study abroad programs, you will need a visa. A visa is a document issued by the country you want to visit and stamped in your passport, indicating that you are permitted to enter that country. Application processes for visas vary depending on the country. Some may require an interview, while others may only require a mail-in application. ALL require a passport and letter of acceptance into your study abroad program. For more information about the specific requirements of the country to which you are traveling, please visit the Embassy Web site or talk to the International Education Center staff.
You will need to make several photocopies of these documents so that you can keep two photocopies tucked away in a safe place separate from the originals. Additionally, you should leave copies with your parents or other trusted friends or relatives. Photocopies will greatly ease the application for a replacement should the original become destroyed or lost.