A passport is a travel document issued by a country’s government to its citizens that verifies the identity and nationality of the holder for the purpose of international travel.  Passports are small booklets that typically contain the bearer’s name, place of birth, date of birth, the date of issue, date of expiry, passport number, photo and signature.  You will need a passport to travel outside of the United States to study abroad.  If you are not a U.S. citizen and wish to study abroad, contact the Center for International Education to learn about specific procedures.

Get a free U.S. passport

Find out how to get a free U.S. passport, thanks to a the generous donation from Albion alums Jeff and Cheri Weedman.

U.S. Passport Application Process

The Center for International Education (Vulgamore 308) provides support to help you understand the application process. The U.S. Government outlines their process.

Step One - Gather Your Documents Toggle Accordion

Gather evidence of your U.S. Citizenship, usually your original birth certificate. Other options found here. Make a photocopy.

Make a copy of your US driver’s license and your Albion ID. Fill out a passport application (DS-11 form). Don’t sign it, and make sure to write legibly.

Step Two - Request Your Free Passport Toggle Accordion

Schedule a meeting with Cristen. Write “Passport Document Check” as the meeting topic. Bring your original and photocopies of the documents, and ask any questions you may have about the DS-11 or general process. When you receive an email from [email protected], pick up two checks from the Accounting Office, Ferguson second floor. $130 to US Department of State and $50 to Albion Post Office.

Submit your Request for the Free Passport Funds

Step Three - Go to the Albion Post to submit your application. Toggle Accordion

Schedule a “New Passport with Photo Services” appointment with the Albion Post Office at 307 N. Superior Street, Albion, MI 49224.

Bring your original and photocopied documents to your scheduled appointment, along with your DS-11 form and checks. Be ready to be photographed, and do not wear white.

Step Four - Wait for your passport to arrive! Toggle Accordion

Sit back and wait for your application to come back to you in the form of a shiny new passport. Wait times average 3-4 months, but calculate extra time just to be safe, especially during the springtime (because summer holiday season).

Why Get a U.S. Passport

The American passport ranks in first position and allows visa-free travel to 172 countries. As a result, it is one of the most sought passports in the world. With a U.S. passport, you can take as many trips abroad as you want for as long as you want, and seek assistance from the local U.S. embassy during times of trouble. You can obtain federal benefits available only to U.S. citizens.

Issued by the US Department of State, the US passport is a blue colored book. Once an American citizen acquires a US passport, he/she can travel to any part of the world without any kinds of problems. In another country, this document helps in establishing identity easily and conveniently. Entries and departures to and from foreign countries are also recorded in the passport for any kind of reference.

10 cool benefits of a passport

  • It’s your ticket to the world
  • Easy proof of citizenship
  • It’s the prerequisite for visas
  • More work opportunities
  • You can study abroad!
  • Improved legal safety around child laws
  • Peace of mind


Visa requirements are determined the countries you visit, and requirements vary based on your country of citizenship, length of stay, purpose of visit, etc. General visa guidelines are best found on the country’s embassy or consulate, and you can also find basic information on the U.S. Department of State Learn about your Desination pages.  for specific information. Study Abroad programs often provide country-specific information. NAFSA provides updated Visas for Education Abroad resources. Albion’s Center for International Education provides supplemental information through individual advising sessions and group discussions.

Travel Documents

Make two copies of all important documents, and leave one copy at home. Pack the second copy separate from originals.

  • Valid U.S. passport. The expiration date should be more than six months after the end of your travels.
  • Valid visa for your destination country, if required. See above for how to determine if you will need a visa.
  • Copy of acceptance letter from your study abroad program.
  • Copy of all medical insurance coverage documents.
  • Copy of CIE Border Letter, provided at CIE orientation and available in your Brits Abroad portal. This verifies Albion’s payment of your tuition and fees.
  • Copy of supplemental financial documents to reflect how you will cover any additional costs when abroad.

Travel Tips