What is a visa and why might I need one?
A visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period within a country.
Though our office doesn't personally advise students on the visa process, the steps below can help most students identify if a visa is needed for your program. It is your responsibility to determine if you need a visa to participate in an off-campus program. Failure to obtain a visa when one is required could result in removal from your program and/or legal issues in-country and your ability to receive academic credit for the program. For this reason, we highly recommend you obtain your visa before you travel to avoid delays or being barred from entering the country.
Who needs a visa?
Since our faculty-directed programs tend to be 90 days or less, most students won't require a visa and are considered "tourists" or "visitors." However, since our exchange programs can be the length of a standard semester, exchange students may need to apply for a "student visa." To help determine if you need a visa, you can use the Guarini Institute programs visa determination process map, review the list of consulate websites or call the consulate, the Schengen Visa Calculator (if applicable), or check TraVisa and VisaHQ.
Students who are studying at Dartmouth on an F-1 visa should also review the section on International Student Visas below.
When and where do I apply for a visa?
Local Consulate (Online or in-person)
Use the list of consulates to contact the nearest consulate that serves Dartmouth students. Please note that this list is subject to change as consulates may change their information. Please note that several consulates are short-staffed. With that in mind, the visa process can take upwards of 8-12 weeks and maybe more in some places. The wait times will change based on the consulate location and staffing. Please plan ahead to make sure you have all of your documents in time for travel.
Dartmouth College has partnered with TraVisa passport and visa service to provide comprehensive information and support in obtaining travel documents; providing information about restrictions and requirements; and helping with your visa or passport needs for a discounted fee.
Important Travel Documents
Whether you find you do or do not need a visa, please be sure to review the entry requirements for your countries of travel on the TraVisa or VisaHQ websites, the Consulate website, and/or the US Department of State website (for US citizens).
While some program sites may not require US citizens to apply for a visa prior to arrival the immigration officials at the airport will sometimes ask for documentation upon arrival of your student status, this is often the case with the United Kingdom (UK). In this instance, the Guarini institute will provide you with a letter indicating your student status that you should print and have available when you arrive at your destination.
Visa Support Letters
You can find out if a Visa Support Letter is necessary when reviewing the documents needed to apply for a visa. Usually, international students and students going on back-to-back programs need a visa support letter. If you find you will need a visa support letter, please email Guarini.Institute@Dartmouth.edu as soon as you know you will need one (preferably 2 weeks prior to your visa appointment) indicating all the necessary details that should be included in the letter.