Sunday, May 13, 2012


Here’s a fun fact that should be emphasized a lot to students planning to go abroad:  it is recommended, and in many cases, required that your passport be valid until 6 months after your expected return date.

Amanda and I will be in Spain from early September until mid-December.  My passport, which I got before my family’s trip to Canada and Alaska when I was almost 15, was due to expire in March of 2013, about three and a half months after our return from Spain.  The UCF study abroad application asks if your passport is good for 6 months after your trip, but there is no context to that question.  I assumed that six months was the recommendation, but surely three and a half months was fine.  I mean, it’s not like I’m going to get stuck in Spain for three and a half months after my date of expected return, right?

Never assume anything!  It was foolish of me to do so, especially regarding something as important as a passport.  I should have looked into it the moment the question was asked.  Even better, the study abroad website should say right there on the application that the expiration date must be 6 months after your expected return date in order to get a student visa, and, in some cases, a plane ticket.  This is not a guideline; it is an actual rule.

I have now sent off my passport application and I’ll have a new passport in a few weeks, but I should have done this earlier.  Now we’re a bit pressed for time, since I need my passport number to make my appointment at the Spanish Consulate in Miami to apply for a student visa.  We need to make these appointments a month in advance, and then the approval process can take another month.  Amanda and I wanted to go to Miami in mid-June, but thanks to my assumption, we might be a bit delayed.  We will still have time to get everything done, but I wish I had been better informed earlier.

On a more exciting note, guess who booked plane tickets from Miami to Madrid today?  We did!

1 comment:

  1. From you Jensen Beach Librarian
    The internet magazine INTERNATIONAL LIVING
    is a good source of information about SPAIN and other countries outside the USA. This is because it is written by Americans who actually lived abroad for many years. They offer FREE
    REPORTS and often hold seminars in cities like ORLANDO. Hope this helps