Travel, Immigration, & Visas
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Travelers should ensure that they currently have a passport that is valid at least six months after the intended return from abroad. If not, travelers should renew their passport immediately. It can take from four to six weeks or more, and visas (where required) cannot be issued without a valid passport.
A U.S. passport is obtainable through the nearest Federal or State District Court or at a Municipal Passport Agency. In Middlebury, both the Superior Court office at the Court House and the Post Office have applications and instructions. In Monterey, only the downtown post office processes applications (by appointment: 831.372.3021). The National Passport Information Center can be reached at 1.877.487.2778 or online at http://travel.state.gov/passport.
To apply for a passport, you will need:
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship, e.g., a certified birth certificate or previous passport. Note that the birth certificate must show that it was filed shortly after birth and must bear the seal of the registrar at birth.
- Identification with a signature, e.g., a driver’s license.
- Two recent passport photos (special format – see website for details).
- Applicable fees for application and for processing.
Where can I go in town to get professional quality passport photos?
Kinney Drugs: 802.388.0973--acceptable quality and lowest price
UPS Store: 802.388.3020--high quality, but expensive
Post Office: 802.388.2681--convenient if applying for a passport at the PO, but most expensive
*Getting professional quality photos, while more expensive than drugstore photos, ensures that your visa application will not be returned to you for noncompliance with passport photo requirements (size, background color, etc.)
All members of the Middlebury-MIIS community who will be traveling, working, or researching in foreign countries must obtain appropriate documentation to travel, work and/or reside in that country. In addition to a valid passport, many countries require a visa for entry and some may also necessitate a work permit. Visa and immigration requirements vary by country and the nature of the activity. If the purpose of the travel abroad is to conduct research it may be necessary to secure “research” permission in order to obtain the visa, or before any research can be conducted; it may be necessary to secure other governmental approvals for the research (e.g., for human subjects or archaeological research).
Generally, faculty and staff must apply for their own visa at the appropriate consulate if applicable. If you are traveling to one of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad, International Programs will provide some help and information. If you are a foreign national currently in the U.S. on a visa, talk with the International Office in Middlebury or Monterey to discuss the impact of your leave on your visa status. Citizens of some countries are not assured to be able to return to the U.S. once they leave. Visa information is available on the U.S. Department of State's website.
Travelers should review applicable visa and immigration requirements to assess the type of immigration documentation needed. Entry and exit requirements for all countries can be found in the country specific information provided by the U.S. State Department. The process of applying for and receiving a visa can be lengthy, so it is important to plan ahead and get started well before your planned departure date.
There are third-party visa agencies that can facilitate the process of obtaining certain types of visas. Middlebury-MIIS faculty/staff have successfully used the following service providers:
Faculty and Staff
For some countries an official letter from Middlebury College is required by the consulate/embassy. These can be obtained through one's own department. The consulate and/or visa expediting service can provide sample letters.
Students attending one of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad can find information on visa requirements in the handbook for their host country. The application process varies depending on destination and consulate. International Programs will guide students through this process.
Students who study abroad on an externally-sponsored program must contact their program sponsor or host university for further information. See also the Pre-Departure Handbook for information.
Green Card Holding Faculty / Staff / Students
Legal permanent residents currently in the U.S. should talk to an immigration lawyer to discuss the potential impact of their leave on their status especially if they plan to be out of the country for more than a year. Green card holders can potentially lose their green card by "abandoning" residence in this country. Criteria used to determine abandonment are:
- Move to another country and intending to live there permanently
- Remain outside of the U.S. for more than one year without obtaining a reentry permit or returning resident visa. However, in determining whether the status has been abandoned any length of absence from the U.S. may be considered, even if it is less than one year
- Remain outside of the U.S. for more than two years after issuance of a reentry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa. However, in determining whether the status has been abandoned any length of absence from the U.S. may be considered, even if it is less than one year
- Fail to file income tax returns while living outside of the US for any period
- Declare oneself a "nonimmigrant" on the U.S. tax return.
When questioning U.S. residence, USCIS looks at such facts as (none of which guarantee acceptance as proof by USCIS):
- being on U.S. payroll
- having a letter from a U.S. employer stating job responsibilities, reason to be outside the country, and term
- having active U.S. bank and credit card accounts
- having a physical abode in the U.S. to return to
- having an active driver’s license in the state of residence.
In general, members of the faculty and staff traveling on College business are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expense as a prudent person traveling for personal reasons. Individuals traveling on behalf of the College are expected to seek the least expensive option that allows them to do their job effectively and safely when incurring any expense that will be charged to the College.
Reservations: The College has designated two local travel agents, Milne Travel and Accent Travel, as preferred vendors for travel services. Members of the faculty and staff may make air and rail reservations using these two agencies. The preferred vendors also negotiate with major chains for preferential auto rental and hotel room rates for College personnel. Except when attending a conference through which special hotel rates are provided, travelers are encouraged to consult with the travel agents prior to making hotel or auto rental reservations. The preferred travel vendors will bill the College directly when an employee's ID number and appropriate budget number are provided to them. Travelers should be sure to provide the specific departmental or grant budget code for the trip at the time of booking.
Some travelers may elect to make their own reservations using Web-based services. Travelers choosing this course are encouraged to obtain a competitive quote from the preferred agents before finalizing alternative bookings. As always, controlling the institutional costs of College travel and maximizing budget resources should be the goal of everyone traveling on college business. Travelers booking fares independently use a personal or College credit card and submit original copies of the card statement along with accounting codes to be charged and a clear explanation of the itinerary in order to receive timely reimbursement.
Additional travel information can be found under Checklists.
You may also reference information from the U.S. Department of State:
Where can I find a public notary?
What is the difference between a notarization and an apostille?
Requiring that a document be notarized (signed before a notary public who has been certified by the secretary of State's office) is often enough to prove a document's legitimacy for use in the US.
In order for the same document to be used in foreign contexts (including foreign consulates within in US), a secondary level of certification called an apostille is often required. The document must be apostilled in the same state where it was notarized and information on how to go about that can be found on the secretary of state's website for most states. Here you'll find the information for Vermont and for California.
How do I get an official translation of my documents?
If you are required to provide an official translation, you cannot translate your documents yourself. The American Translators Association maintains a list of certified professional translators you can contract to translate your documents.