If you do not currently have a passport and you are applying to a study abroad program, you MUST expedite the process. You MUST expedite the process to ensure that your passport will arrive prior to the deadline for submitting your visa application materials. You will need your physical passport in order to obtain a student visa.
Additionally, if you currently have a passport, it typically needs to be valid for six months after the date of return from your study abroad program. For example, if your study abroad program ends in May 2013 then your passport needs to be valid through November 2013. If you have any questions regarding this matter, you shoudl contact your study abroad advisor.
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If you have any questions regarding obtaining a new passport, please contact email@example.com