A passport is your official identification as a United States citizen, and you will need it to leave the country.

If you do not have a passport and are interested in studying abroad, you need to apply for one as soon as possible. Passport applications can take four to eight weeks to process.  

What you need to apply for a passport 

Passport Application Form DS-11 (unsigned)

  • Application forms are available at the Office of International Education and Services.  
  • Printable applications are also available online.   

Proof of U.S. Citizenship

You will need one of the following: 

  • Previous valid undamaged U.S. passport  
  • If you were born in the U.S., a Certified Birth Certificate issued by the state, city, or county of your birth. A Certified Copy will have a raised, embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal and the date the certificate was filed. Hospital Birth Certificates are not acceptable.  
    • NOTE: we will send your original documentation with your application. Your original documentation will be mailed back to you by the State Department.  

Proof of Identity

  • Valid driver's license
  • Holders of a temporary permit of state-issued ID cards must also present a second form of identification. For children under age 16, the child and both parents or legal guardian(s) must appear in person and present the following:  
    • Evidence of the child’s U.S. citizenship
    • Evidence of the child’s relationship to parents/guardian(s) and Parental/guardian identification
  • If only one parent appears, you must also submit one of the following:
    • Second parent’s notarized written statement consenting to issuance for the child
    • Primary evidence of sole authority to apply
    • A written statement (made under penalty of perjury) explaining the second parent’s unavailability

One Passport Photo

Photos must be:

  • In color
  • 2 x 2 inches in size
  • Taken within the past six months, showing current appearance
  • Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background
  • Between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
  • Taken in normal street attire
  • Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except religious attire that is worn daily
  • Do not wear a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline
  • If you normally wear prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig or similar articles, they should be worn for your picture
  • Dark glasses or non-prescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (a medical certificate may be required)

In addition to your passport, you may need to apply for a visa. A visa is official permission to enter a specific country and is granted by that country’s government. While some countries require a visa, some do not. Therefore, you should contact the nearest Consulate for the country you are planning to travel to in order to learn about its requirements and costs which may apply.

Visa applications can also take several weeks so you should be mindful of this when planning your travels.


  • Make sure your passport is not expired and will not expire during your stay abroad. Your passport must be valid at least six months beyond the end date of your program.
  • If you were age 16 or older when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years. If you are 15 or younger, your passport is valid for 5 years.
  • If you do not provide your Social Security Number, your application may be delayed or even denied.
  • You can apply in person at a U.S. Post Office if this is your first passport or if your most recent passport was issued when you were younger than 16.
  • You can apply via email to renew your passport.
  • Once you receive your passport, keep multiple copies with people you trust and scan a copy to keep in your email account.
  • Guard your passport in a safe place. You should take care of it as you would with any other valuable item.
  • If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, notify the nearest U.S. consulate and report it to the local police.
  • Discuss visa information with the coordinator you are working with.
1025 N. Sprigg
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Mailing Address
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Cape Girardeau, MO 63701