Pre-departure Orientation & Visas

Pre-departure Orientation: 

Students must attend all orientation meetings and activities both on the St. Lawrence campus and in-country.

Non-SLU students participating on programs may be required to attend some orientation sessions, otherwise they will receive printed information by mail.  Orientation will cover a variety of topics ranging from course choices to cultural information and safety and security protocols. Students will receive information regarding visa application processes, housing (particularly living with host families), travel arrangements and required immunizations where applicable.

They may be required to submit documents to our office or to relevant consulates/embassies.

Parents should speak with their student before contacting our office about any of these requirements. This is in recognition of the fact that students ultimately must navigate their host country and program during their off-campus experience, and it is critical for them to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the processes and policies with studying off-campus. Parents who demonstrate confidence in students' abilities will contribute to their student's development and overall sense of self-efficacy.


Students will be provided with detailed instructions on applying for visas, if the country to which they are traveling requires one, either by CIIS staff or by the program provider. 

The application processes to obtain visas for certain countries can be complicated and lengthy.  It is important for the student follow all instructions very carefully and to begin the process in a timely manner in order to insure that they will be able to begin the program on time. 

It is also important for the student to complete this process him or herself both because it is a learning process that demonstrates the maturity required to engage in a semester off campus and because a visa is a legal document.  If students are asked questions related to the visa application process that they cannot answer, they could be denied the visa or denied entry to the country at the port of entry.

NOTE: The staff in CIIS will do its best to provide up to date instructions on applying for a visa. Consulates/Embassies may, however, change the process at any time and without notification. In fact the application process may vary according to the regulations of the consulate where one applies.  (All information provided by CIIS on the website will be for the Consulates in New York.)  Therefore, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to follow the guidelines posted on the website of the consulate to which they intend to apply for their visa.