A man works in a garden in rural China.


All members of the Middlebury 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 Middlebury-C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, Study Abroad will provide some help and information. If you are a foreign national currently in the U.S. on a visa, talk with the International Student and Scholar Services 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 Embassy webpage of the country you will be visiting.

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. Department of State. 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 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 Middlebury-C.V. Starr 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.

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 as follows:

  • 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 U.S. for any period
  • Declare oneself a nonimmigrant on the U.S. tax return.

When questioning U.S. residence, USCIS looks at the following facts (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

Public Notary

Banks and post offices generally have a notary on staff.

For the Vermont campus, you can find the list here under Notaries.

In Monterey, contact:

Naomi Braswell Operations Coordinator Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey 831-647-3572 nbraswell@middlebury.edu

Notarization vs Apostille

Requiring that a document be notarized (signed before a notary public who has been certified by the Secretary of State’s office in the state where the signature is being made) 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 the U.S.), 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. Find the information for Vermont and for California.


Travelers should ensure that they currently have pass­ports that are 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 obtained through the nearest Federal or State District Court or at a Municipal Passport Agency. In Middlebury, both the Superior Court office at the courthouse and the Post Office have applica­tions and instructions. In Monterey, only the downtown post office processes applications by appointment—call 831-372-3021.

The National Passport Information Center can be reached at 877-487-2778.

To apply for a passport, you will need the following:

  • 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.

Passport Photos

There are a few local options for Middlebury students in Vermont and California:

In Middlebury

In Monterey

U.S. Visas Photo Requirements

U.S. Visas-Photo Requirements U.S. Visas-Photo Composition Template

Translation of 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.

Global Operations
Sunderland Language Center
College Street
Middlebury, VT 05753