Visa Information 2017

Visa Information for Arts Abroad Programs
The following information is meant to be used as a resource.  SVA makes every effort to provide students with updated information, but the College is not responsible for changes in immigration requirements, fees, and processes or the approval/rejection of visa applications.  Please note: SVA Arts Abroad and the International Student Office are not responsible for getting the student’s visas.  Applicants must obtain their own visas.

U.S. Department of State, Study Abroad site

Visas for Education Abroad
NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Schengen (Short Stay) Visa, Frequently Asked Questions

Schengen visa is a single visa for visiting 26 European countries including SVA’s Arts Abroad destinations: France, Italy and Spain.  It is issued for short stays up to 90 days.  You should apply at the Consulate of the country of your main destination, the one where you will spend the longer period of time.  For example, if you are attending a program in France but plan to visit Italy afterwards, apply for the Schengen visa at the Consulate of France in New York City.

Health Insurance Coverage
It is recommended that you check with your medical insurance provider whether coverage is extended during your trip abroad.  To obtain proof of SVA’s student health insurance coverage, please contact the Office of Student Health and Counseling Services: [email protected], 212.592.2246.


Applying for a U.S. Passport
Passport must be valid for six-months from the expected date of re-entry to the U.S.  Processing takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

Please submit a copy of your passport with your program confirmation. If you are an American citizen, visas are generally not required to travel for up to three months in duration. However, requirements change frequently and students should contact the appropriate consulate for up-to-date information. Please visit for more information. Note: The program offered in Shanghai requires a student visa.

Applying for a new U.S. passport

Renew a U.S. passport


International students should consult with the International Student Advisor (Designated School Official) of your school regarding visas for your destination, also to ensure that you have a valid visa and endorsement to re-enter the U.S.  SVA students may contact the International Student Office: [email protected], 212.592.2236. 

1. Check your U.S. visa expiration date
You must make sure your U.S. visa (F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, etc.) has not expired so that you will be able to re-enter the U.S. when returning from the Arts Abroad program. If your visa will expire during the summer while you are traveling outside of the U.S., you must return to your home country to renew the visa before you can return to the U.S. to resume studying at SVA.  Also, make sure the travel signature on your I-20 is valid for re-entry (F-1 students only). Please visit the International Student Office for U.S. visa immigration advice.

2. Make plans for all countries you will travel to and through
You will need to know your complete travel plans to make sure you have visas for every country you travel through, before, during, or after the Arts Abroad program. You may be required to apply for visas for some or all of these countries. For example, if you plan to pass through a country on the way to your destination country, don’t forget to check if a “transit visa” is required.

3. Apply for the visa as soon as possible
In general, you can apply for the visa up to 90-days before the date you are scheduled to arrive in that country.  You should gather all the application materials by 3-months before the start of the program.  If you wait too long to apply for the visa, you might not receive it in time to attend the Arts Abroad program. If you cannot attend the program because you do not have a visa, you may still have to pay the entire program fee. For withdrawal and refund policies, please contact your program coordinator or [email protected]

4. Apply for the visa from the U.S. (not from your home country)
Applying from the U.S. is faster and easier because you are a SVA student and you live in the U.S. for most of the year.  If you apply from your home country, the application can be difficult.  If your program takes place in May or June, you might not have enough time to apply for the visa in your home country after you complete the spring semester.  It will take a long time and you will have less connection to SVA.  Please contact SVA’s International Student Office to review your travel plans before you leave the U.S.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators, webinar training: “Advising International Students on Education Abroad,” and Michigan State University, Office of Study Abroad.


Visit the Consulate General’s web page to review details of the visa application requirements.

Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York
520 12th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Tel: 212.244.9392 / 212.244.9456

Visa (F-visa) is required, issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.  Foreign citizens generally need a visa to visit China’s mainland with the exception of visa-free entry according to relevant agreements and regulations.  Apply for the visa at least one month before departure.  The visa is issued for single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry.  (Note: U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to visit Hong Kong for up to 90 days, but a visa is required to visit China’s mainland.)

Application Requirements: (Refer to the detailed guidelines from the Program Coordinator)

  • Passport
  • Visa Application Form
  • Recent passport-style photo
  • Proof of U.S. Residency Status: only for non-U.S. citizens with permanent addresses abroad.
  • Proof of travel: photocopy of round-trip airline ticket and hotel reservation
  • SVA’s acceptance letter (letter of invitation) stating the purpose, travel dates, etc.
  • Official transcript and enrollment verification letter (Request at the Registrar’s Office)
  • International students in F-1 student status must have a valid I-20 endorsed for travel and re-entry.

 Consulate General of France in New York
934 Fifth Avenue
(between 74th and 75th Street)
New York, NY 10021
Tel 212.606.3600
email: [email protected],108-

American citizens who intend to study in France for less than 90 days do not need a visa.
Citizens of many other countries are not required to obtain a visa to enter France as long as their visit (for tourism or business) does not exceed 90 days over a period of 6 months. Students from other countries may need to apply for the short stay student visa (Schengen visa).  Lookup page: “Do I need a visa?”

Application Requirements:

  • Passport
  • Visa Application Form
  • Recent passport-style photo
  • Proof of student status (SVA ID card copy, official transcript and enrollment verification letter (Request at the Registrar’s Office)
  • Flight reservation copy (Complete itinerary or round trip ticket with confirmed dates. Open tickets are not accepted. JUST BOOK your trip but DO NOT PURCHASE your tickets until the visa has been approved).
  • SVA’s acceptance letter (letter of invitation) stating the purpose, travel dates, etc.
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Financial guarantee, notarized letter
  • Proof of valid medical insurance coverage, letter from the insurance company
  • International students in F-1 student status must have a valid I-20 endorsed for travel and re-entry, with an F-1 student visa which must be valid for at least 90 days beyond the last day in France.

If your U.S. student visa has expired or will expire before or during your program dates you may not be eligible to apply for a French student visa. However, the consulate may be willing to process your French visa application if you submit additional documentation, such as a letter from SVA explaining that you cannot obtain a new U.S. visa prior to your departure, and a copy of your plane ticket showing that you are flying from France to your home country after the program.  You will need to buy this ticket in advance. Please contact the ISO or the consulate to find out what, if any, additional documentation might be necessary.

Consulate General of Italy in New York
690 Park Avenue
(corner of 69th Street)
New York, NY 10065
Tel 212.439.8607
email: [email protected]

Look up page, “Do you need a visa?”

U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Italy for up to 90-days.  Students from countries required a visa must apply for the short say Schengen Visa.

Application Requirements:

  • Visa application form
  • Recent passport-style photo
  • Passport or travel document valid for at least three months after visa expiry date
  • Proof of enrollment or pre-enrolment in course of study, indicating number of hours daily study and duration of course.
  • Official transcript and enrollment verification letter (Request at the Registrar’s Office)
  • A letter of acceptance in two copies (original plus one copy) from the US Academic Institution providing for the Study Abroad Program
  • Documentation of educational history in Country of Origin.
  • Proof of means of support in Italy, such as personal or family funds.
  • Declaration of the availability in Italy of appropriate lodgings as well as the funds necessary for repatriation, possibly to be demonstrated in the form of a return airline ticket
  • Insurance coverage for medical treatment and/or hospitalization, to be demonstrated by means of: Consular declaration or foreign insurance policy.

Consulate General of Mexico in New York
27 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel 212.217.6400

U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents do not need a visa to enter Mexico.  Other nationals visiting Mexico for tourist, business or transit won’t need a Mexican visa as long as they have a valid U.S. visa in their passport.  If your F-1 student visa is still valid during the SVA Arts Abroad program duration, you do not need to apply for a visa to enter Mexico.  If your F-1 visa is expired or would have expired by then, either plan to return to your home country to renew your F-1 visa prior to the program, or apply for a visa to enter Mexico.

The application form is available at:

Schedule an appointment:

Consulate General of Spain in New York
150 East 58th St., 30th floor
New York, N.Y.10155
Tel 212.355.4080 email: [email protected]

U.S. citizens do not need a visa to study in Spain for less than 90 days.  The Student visa must be obtained for studies under 3 months by all nationals that are not EU citizens or they are from the countries that require visas to travel to the Schengen countries. Application Requirements:

  • Schengen Visa application form
  • Passport or travel document valid for six months with one blank page to affix the visa
  • Student ID card
  • Official transcript and enrollment verification letter (Request at the Registrar’s Office)
  • Recent passport-style photo
  • SVA’s acceptance letter (letter of invitation) stating the purpose, travel dates, etc.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage
  • Proof of financial means during the stay, such as a notarized letter from family attesting to the availability of at least $1000 per month for room and board.
  • Personal bank account statements showing at least $1000 per month of stay.
  • Money order to pay the non-refundable visa fees. (Personal checks are not accepted.)
  • Evidence of current immigration status in the U.S. such as a valid I-20 with F-1 student visa.