A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your planned return date to the U.S.
To learn more about how to obtain a passport, including what documents and items must be presented with the passport application visit the U.S. State Department's web site.
You may also visit a passport acceptance facility (sites can be found via the link above) to inquire about passports and apply for one. The nearest passport acceptance facility, where you can apply for your passport, is located on campus at the Wild Card UK ID Center.
Obtaining a Passport on Short Notice
Should you not have a passport or yours will not remain valid for the length of your travel, there are 13 regional passport agencies, and 1 Gateway City Agency, which primarily serve customers traveling within 2 weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required. The nearest regional passport agency is:
CHICAGO Passport Agency
Kluczynski Federal Building
230 S. Dearborn Street, 18th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604-1564
Automated Appointment Number: 1-877-487-2778
A visa is a stamp or document placed in your passport, which authorizes you to enter a particular country, for a specific purpose such as tourism or study. Visa requirements vary from country to country and may vary according to your country of citizenship, purpose of travel and duration of your stay.
To determine whether or not you may need a visa for the country or countries you plan to visit (or are passing through to get to your destination), please refer to the U.S. Department of State. Visa information is located under the Entry/Exit requirements section of the country specific information sheets for each country.
You may be required to register with the local authorities upon arrival in your host country or obtain additional travel documentation to remain in the country legally.
Some countries may also require you to obtain a Residence Permit to stay for longer than 90 days in the host country. Make sure to check whether or not you need a visa or Residence Permit well in advanced of departing for the host country.
Visa information for China can be found here.