Get Ready to Travel
Congratulations on being accepted to an education abroad program! The next couple of months will be an exciting and active time as you get ready to travel. Please read the section below. The we resources and instructions listed are important ways for you to prepare for your time abroad.
Questions? We’re here for you! Please reach out.
By Mail or In Person:
UCR Education Abroad
900 University Avenue
Skye Hall, Room 321
Riverside, CA 92521
Orientations and Workshops
Attend all mandatory meetings and orientation sessions.
For Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) students, check your program's schedule.
Everyone leaving the U.S. needs to have a current passport. Applying for and renewing passports takes some time, so please look into this immediately after you get your acceptance notification.
Give yourself 3 to 6 months to apply or renew.
If you already have a passport, check it for:
- expiration date (on the photo page) to make sure it’s still valid for at least 6 months after your abroad program ends
- and you have at least 2 blank pages for passport stamps.
Compare against the day you will travel back to the U.S. If your passport is expired or will expire in 6 months from the time you plan to get back into the U.S. or if you don’t have enough room for stamps in your passport, you will need to renew.
For U.S. Citizens - UCR hosts a passport fair during Worldfest. You can also apply or renew at a U.S. Post Office or other approved location.
You must apply or renew in person if:
- You are getting a passport for the first time.
- You have had a lost, stolen, or damaged passport in the past.
- Your current passport is more than 15 years old.
You may renew by mail if:
- Your passport is undamaged and can be submitted with your application.
- Your passport was issued when you were 16 years old or older.
- Your passport was issued within the last 15 years.
- Your passport was issued in your current name or if you have a legally documented name change.
New Passports or In-Person Renewals
- Get the U.S. passport application, Form DS-11, online through the U.S. Department of State or get a printed copy at a U.S. Post Office.
- Take passport photos.
- There are very specific rules for passport photos. Take photos in the following locations to make sure you have the right type of photo:
Moreno Valley Main Post Office
23580 Alessandro Boulevard, Moreno Valley, CA 92553‐9998
951-656-9720 | Mon‐Sat, 10 a.m.‐3 p.m. | Photos: $15 for 2.
Walgreens (Photo Department)
6600 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92506
951-786-9243 | Open seven days a week, 9 a.m.‐12 p.m.
3. Make an appointment to apply in person at a post office or other approved location. Bring the following with you:
- Your application, which you must complete in blue or black ink only! Do not sign it. You will do this when you meet with the passport agent.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate with the registrar’s seal, a previous U.S. passport or naturalization papers.
- Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license, naturalization papers, a previous passport, a social security card or any other identification that shows your photograph or signature.
- 2 passport photographs.
For applicants 16 and older
Application Fee: $110
Execution Fee: $25
For applicants under 15
Application Fee: $80
Execution Fee: $25
Pay the application fee with a:
- Credit Card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover)
- Debit/Check Card
- Check (personal, certified, cashiers, travelers), payable to “Department of State”
- Money order (U.S. Postal, international, currency exchanges) and bank drafts, payable to “Department of State”
Execution fee payment goes directly to the passport agency. If you’re writing a check or money order, make it payable to their office.
Renewing Passports by Mail
We encourage you to give yourself 3 to 6 months to apply for or renew your passport to avoid paying additional fees, but you may expedite process for an additional cost of $60 plus shipping if you meet the criteria here.
Where’s My Application Now?
If you submitted a passport application, check the status here.
Depending on where you are traveling, you may need a visa. This includes any countries you may be traveling to other than your primary destination. Contact us to check.
Once you are accepted to an education abroad program, you must complete some important health-related documentation. This is called Health Clearance and is vital to making sure you are ready to travel and will stay healthy while abroad.
While it is routine and pretty straightforward, Health Clearance can take some time, so please begin immediately after you get your acceptance notification. Follow the instructions below:
Begin the Health Clearance Process
- UCR FLEAP: If you are a selected Faculty Led Education Abroad Program (FLEAP) student, you should begin the process immediately at UCR Student Health Services AND must complete the process 3 weeks (90 days) before the date of departure.
- UCEAP: If you are a selected UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) student, you should begin the process immediately at UCR Student Health Services AND complete the process by your deadline as indicated in your UCEAP Pre-departure Checklist.
- OAP: If you are selected to attend an Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP), you may see your own doctor. If you use UCR Student Health Services, you should begin the process immediately at UCR Student Health Services AND must complete the process 3 weeks (90 days) before the date of departure.
Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
- Students often request a mental health clearance from CAPS before going abroad. Clearance forms for education abroad cannot be signed off on the same day as an initial visit. Please seek services as soon as possible. CAPS clinicians can only sign off on forms for students with whom they have established a professional relationship and whom they know well enough in a clinical sense. PLEASE NOTE: This process is SEPARATE from the regular health clearance and adds more time to the overall clearance process.
Students with Special Needs
- Please note that UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) and some Opportunities Abroad Programs (OAP) cannot guarantee accommodations for students with disabilities. What is considered standard in the U.S. may not be available overseas for U.S. education abroad students. Once a student discloses, we will engage in an interactive process with students who are registered at the UCR Student Disability Resource Center. This process takes time, collaboration, and open communication between the U.S.-based staff, the student, and the partner institutions. Students are not legally required to disclose a disability to us; it is voluntary. However, self-disclosure is a key to success on an education abroad program. The goal of an early disclosure is to promote a holistic approach toward student support. Students can choose to disclose during selection, application, or earlier. For information on accessibility, please contact email@example.com or UCR Student Disability Services.
If You Want to See Your Own Doctor
- UCEAP & FLEAP students must start and end the health clearance process at UCR Student Health Services, regardless of your insurance provider. However, you may see their own private doctor for immunizations as long as they meet the standards outlined by the UCR Travel Clinic nurse. The UCR nurse will provide you with any necessary documents that you will take to your private doctor. Be sure to bring these documents back with you when you return for your second appointment to get your physical completed with the UCR Student Health Services physician.
Health and Travel Insurance
Whether you’re going on a Faculty Led Education Abroad Program (FLEAP), UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP), or another program, you must have international travel/medical insurance.
- FLEAP participants: You’re automatically registered in the UC student travel insurance policy, even if you do not normally receive UC student insurance. Coverage extends for a total of 7 days outside the official program dates (before or after).
- UCEAP: You’re automatically covered by the UCEAP travel insurance plan. No need to take action to activate it. Your plan starts 14 days before the official start date of your program and lasts until 31 days after the official end date of your program. Learn more.
- Other UC and Non-UC Program participants (OAP) : Most Other UC and Non-UC Program providers include insurance. If your program does not include insurance, ask your education abroad advisor for resources on getting international medical and travel insurance.
PLEASE NOTE: This is emergency supplemental TRAVEL insurance and should not to be confused with your regular major medical insurance (UC Student Health Insurance Program/USHIP, Kaiser, Blue Shield, Health Net, etc.).
Also read more about UCOP Travel Insurance.
Some countries have immunization requirements you’ll need to get before leaving. Required vaccinations are part of Health Clearance, but make sure to cover this with your doctor or the travel nurse at UCR Student Health Services. Tell your healthcare providers about the other countries you plan to visit while abroad. Please keep in mind that some vaccines need multiple shots over several days.
- Ask your health care providers about vaccines such as for Hepatitis A and B and for the flu. Get these before you leave.
- Start the vaccination process six months before you leave so you can complete the series in time.
- Ask your health care provider for an International Certificate of Vaccination card, issued through the World Health Organization (WHO). This proves you received all of your necessary vaccines. Take this card with you when you travel to your host country and the other countries you visit.
Read news and learn about any important events in your host country and at your program institution. Google searches will point you to online magazines that cover your region.
- Review the Students Abroad and safety and security U.S. State Department webpages for any alerts and safety issues.
- Check with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
- If you plan to speak or study in the language of your host country, read publications and websites in that language to get familiar.
- Figure out what the exchange rate is for local currency and whether many places accept card payments or if you need to always keep enough cash on hand. Familiarize yourself with local currency so you don’t struggle counting change or converting once you’re on the ground.
- Familiarize yourself with common culture at your destination.
Check R’Mail often
Your R’Mail account will be the only email account where you receive official information from UCR. In fact, we recommend that you create a folder for all education abroad correspondence. If you change your physical address or phone number, contact your UCR, other UC, or non-UC program representative immediately. Failed and untimely communication is a common reason why students become ineligible for education abroad programs. Do not let this happen to you!
Use this subject line for emails to Education Abroad
So that your education abroad advisor can respond to your R’Mail quickly, use this subject line format: Name/Country/Program/Term/Issue
Example: LaSharon/Italy/OAP-International Studies Abroad/Summer 2019/Financial Aid
International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the only internationally recognized student ID card. Since its launch in 1953, the ISIC card has helped over 40 million students get the most out of their travel experience. With access to a global network of affordable and specialized student services, the ISIC card is your key to more than 40,000 discounts and benefits in 120 countries worldwide. The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) Association is a member of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE Travel Confederation), a not-for-profit organization which brings together world-leading specialists in student and youth travel services.
Education Abroad Participants
Some programs will include the ISIC card as part of your program fees. If the card is not included as part of your program, students have the option to purchase the ISIC card. A fee of $25 will be billed to your UCR student account. If you choose to use STA Travel to book your airfare, you must purchase the ISIC card to book your flight.
- To purchase the ISIC card, complete the ISIC Order Form. Make sure to provide all information highlighted in yellow. Turn the completed ISIC Order Form into the Education Abroad Office. It will take 2-3 business days to process your card.
ISIC Basic Insurance
Although students will be enrolled in either the University of California’s Travel Insurance Coverage, UCEAP Insurance, or a Non-UC program insurance plan, we recommend that students check with their personal health care provider to confirm that their coverage extends beyond U.S. borders during the time that they will be traveling.
In addition to your program’s insurance plan, students who purchase the ISIC card will have ISIC Basic Insurance Coverage.
The ISIC card MUST BE ACTIVATED in order to access its benefits. PLEASE ACTIVATE YOUR CARD IMMEDIATELY and PRIOR TO DEPARTURE! Your policy will govern the final interpretation of any provision or claim. It is important that you read your policy carefully.
Visit the ISIC website for more information about ISIC insurance options.
UC Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP): Complete Pre-departure Documents
Access them on the UCEAP website. Go to “Participants,” choose your host country, then click on your program to see your UCEAP Travel Requirements and Pre-Departure Checklist. In this section, click on every link, follow all instructions, and complete and submit all forms by the listed deadlines. If you don’t see documents for the 2018-19 academic year, refer to the 2017-18 documents. Also be sure to view UCR Education Abroad's own pre-departure resources.
Faculty-Led Education Abroad Program (FLEAP)
Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP)
Look for Financial Aid, Grants, and Scholarships
Visit our scholarships page. You can also schedule an appointment with an education abroad advisor who can tell you for which grants and scholarships you may be eligible for. If you’re a Faculty Led Education Abroad Program (FLEAP) student, you may be eligible for program-specific scholarships in addition to any other UCR aid. If you’re an other Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) participant, you may not use UCR-specific scholarships or grants to finance your program.
If you receive financial aid through UCR, ask your education abroad advisor for a Consortium/Contractual Agreement. You may need to complete this document to apply your financial aid to your education abroad program.
What to Pack
Medication and Health-Related Items
- Research any countries’ regulations for what prescription and non-prescription medication you are and are not allowed to bring and in what quantity. Some countries require that restricted prescription medications be transported in their original prescription bottles, a note from your doctor, and sometimes even prior written authorization from the country itself. Check in with the UCR Campus Health Center, your doctor, and your host country’s embassy. Ask them if you can easily access your medications in your host country or if you can bring them. For example, if you’re diabetic and need insulin injections, ask them if importing your injection kit is legal. If they don’t know, ask them how you can find out. Here are some additional resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and International Narcotics Control Board to help you.
- When you leave for your host country, take extra prescription drugs in their original containers. Make sure your containers clearly show the prescription numbers on the labels. Bring copies of your prescriptions and a list of generic names in case your host country doesn’t offer the brand name. Make sure to pack enough for your entire stay because your prescriptions may not be available in your host country.
- Bring extra eyeglasses or contact lenses and the written prescription. Take backup supplies of contact lens solution in case it isn’t readily available.
- Learn about the dietary customs and the availability of certain foods in your host country. If you take vitamins, bring enough to last your entire stay abroad.
- Take a small first-aid kit packed with adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin or acetaminophen and anti-diarrhea medicine.
- Bring a lot of condoms and always use them! This applies to both men and women. Because condom brands in other countries may not be reliable, it’s a good idea to bring latex condoms from home—enough to last your entire time abroad. Make sure to carry condoms with you wherever you go.
Here are some additional helpful documents you can download or print out.
Airport Screening Tips
When you leave to fly to another country, get to the airport in enough time to go through security check, customs and immigration.
Security check can be lengthy and cumbersome. Here are tips to help it go more smoothly:
- Avoid wearing these items or prepare to remove them during screening:
- Heavy jewelry, including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, and cuff links
- Clothing with metal buttons, snaps, or studs
- Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration
- Belt buckles
- Underwire bras
- Hidden items such as body piercings may result in additional screening, including a pat-down. If selected for additional screening, passengers may ask to remove their body piercing in private.
- Take metal items such as keys, loose change, smartphones out of pockets and place in your carry-on baggage before going through security.
- Trench coats, heavy winter coats, suit jackets, sport coats, and blazers will have to go through the X-ray machine for inspection. If bringing an outer coat or jacket on the plane, you’ll have to put it in your carry-on bag or in the overhead bin.
- Keep these items out and be ready to show them multiple times:
- Airline boarding pass
- Once at the security screening checkpoint, remove your coat and shoes, have your laptop out and be ready to put them on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening.
- If someone is accompanying you through the security checkpoint because you have a medical condition, ask your airline in advance what documentation you need to show to prove your companion has clearance.
- Avoid wearing these items or prepare to remove them during screening: