Semester and Year Visa FAQ

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What type of visa do I need?

You will be applying for a Temporary Resident - Student visa.

How do I apply for the visa?

You can apply for your visa online at  You may be required to appear in-person at your consulate with your passport and additional required documents, or you may be able to send them to the consulate to be processed.

What documents will I need to collect in order to apply for the visa?

  • United States Passport, valid at least six months after your return
  • Visa Application Form (typed in capital letters, NOT hand written)
  • Visa Certification Form
  • Passport-sized Photographs
  • Certificate of Good Conduct (must come from your local police department within 3 months of departure)
  • Certificate of Good Health (must be completed within 30-60 days of visa appointment)
  • Parental Consent Form (Legalized by the consulate) (Who needs to sign?)
  • Birth Certificate
  • You will also receive additional documents from AFS-USA and AFS-Ecuador necessary for applying for your visa.

When do I apply for the visa?

You must send your prepared documents or apply in-person for your visa no later than 5 weeks before departure. 

How much will the visa cost?

The visa fee is currently around $450 USD, but varies according to the consulate. Fees are subject to change at any time.

Are there any other expected costs?

There are additional costs involved in obtaining and notarizing the required documents. There may also be additional costs associated with traveling to the Consulate for an in-person appointment.

Are any of these costs covered in my AFS program fee?

No, your program fee does not cover any of the costs related to obtaining your passport or visa.

Can I travel before the start of my program?

You should not plan any excursions outside of the United States three months prior to your program. Obtaining a visa takes time and your passport will be required. If you travel before the start of your program and do not allow enough time to procure your visa, you will run the risk of not being able to participate on your program.

Fees and requirements are determined by immigration authorities and are subject to change at any time.

Need more clarification on visa-related questions? Check out the General Visa FAQs.

IMPORTANT: Do not begin the visa application process until you are notified by AFS.

The information above is a general overview of your expected student visa or residence permit application process. The laws, fees, document requirements, and processes are subject to change at any time.

Additional student visa / residence permit application information and support will be posted as soon as it is available for your specific departure cycle. You will be notified by email as detailed support materials are posted for your program.

The visa application process, including requirements and fees, are determined by the government of your host country and are subject to change. AFS will support you as you apply for your travel documents but ultimately it is your responsibility to obtain legal permission to live and study abroad.

Fees and requirements are determined by each country’s immigration authorities and are subject to change at any time.