Visa Tips

Helpful steps for International Students at PSU who need a Visa for short-term international travel
  • Start the process early (Recommended at least 3 months before travel, longer if possible)
  • Go to the Embassy website of the country you are traveling to. Check to see if you need a visa to enter the country and what steps you need to follow to get one. Also check to see if there are any requirements about the length of time your US Visa must be good for to travel. Some countries require that your US Visa will not expire within 6 months of your trip. This information is not always evident on the travisa site (information below).  Embassy websites can be found under “Entry, exit, and visa requirements” for each country at  Just type your destination country into the “Learn about your destination” box.
  • If you have any layovers in your flight, check to see if you also need a transit visa for your layover in that country.
  • Go to (or a similar visa website like,,, etc.). 
    • Enter the country you are traveling to and your citizenship, and tourist as the type of travel.
    • You will see a list of steps you need to complete for your visa. Download the visa application and complete this. If you need to have it scanned or faxed when it is completed, let us know and we can help with that.
    • If it asks for you to list any friends you have in the country, you can list not applicable. If it asks for employment information you can list not applicable.
    • If you need to provide a sponsor letter from the Penn State or the host country, ask your course leader or to Ketja Lingenfelter, Assistant Director for Student Global Engagement, at about this and provide them with the details that should be included in the letter.
    • You might need to provide the address where you are staying, and a copy of the flight itinerary which your course leader can provide for you if you do not already have these.
    • You might need proof of medical insurance which Ketja can assist with.
    • For some countries, you have to schedule an in-person appointment or interview with their embassy or consulate, which can be as far away from State College as Philadelphia or New York City. This is why you Tipsa Friday or Monday. Try to plan this with other students in your class who might need visas so you can travel together.
  • Note that using a visa service such as Travisa is optional and that they may not be able to process visas for all foreign students.  In the event that your visa cannot be processed by one of these agencies, or if you prefer, you may work directly with the embassy to obtain your visa. 
  • Check for any additional deadlines or requirements from your educational funding source to ensure Visa and travel requirements are met.
  • UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE CORRECT AND COMPLETE VISA DOCUMENTATION BEFORE YOU TRAVEL. Penn State is not liable for any costs you incur due to changes in regulations or lack of knowledge about visa requirements.