Your Visa or its equivalent must be obtained PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE of any airline tickets!
REMEMBER, you may have sent us all the required paperwork, but if documents are missing from your Host Country, the LEGAL ENTRY CANNOT BE PROCESSED.
If documents are missing from your Host Country (in your Online Record), you need to contact Rotary NOT It's Your World Travel
Long-Term Program - Steps To Success:
A visa is the official document which allows you to enter, stay, and leave your hosting country at the end of your exchange. Not all countries require a visa, IYWT will advise you as we make your travel preparations. Your online student record will advise you if you require a visa in the Host Country Entry Requirements tab.
If you need a visa, it is normally stamped inside your passport. IYWT has been obtaining 'Student Visas', in even the most difficult circumstances for over 30 years. We have close relations with your host government's consular representation and will assist you in completing their required paperwork.
Therefore, if you need a visa, in most cases, you will need to send your SIGNED passport book to IYWT so that we can apply for your visa. Officials at the consulate will issue the visa after we send your COMPLETED paperwork to them for approval. Some host governments require an in-person submission of paperwork at their consulate in the United States or Canada. Be sure to consult the Document Information and Consulate Notes in your online profile for full instructions.
In order to obtain your visa/legal entry, you, the student/parent, provide certain required documents. Rotary, both here and in your host country, provide required documents as well. Please note, no paperwork can be submitted to the consulate until ALL paperwork is received and complete from all parties.
Standard Paperwork Needed to Apply for MOST visas:
The following list is NOT an official visa requirements list, but rather is intended to give you an idea of the minimal paper work you normally need to submit to IYWT in order to process your visa. This is ONLY an example of the type of documents that are required for you to submit.
Please refer to your own host country's specific requirements from the Document Information located in the Host Country Entry Requirements tab we provide to you in your online profile.
- Government Issued Passport Book - send your actual passport book "MAKE SURE IT IS SIGNED AND VALID FOR AT LEAST 6 months beyond your intended return" and there is at least one blank page to affix your visa. (Please keep a copy for your records before sending).
- Visa Application - This is a standard form from your hosting country's consulate. Often you will need to sign the form after you have completed it, or your parents may need to sign if you are a minor (under 18 years old).
- Passport Type Photos - You must buy these photos! Businesses such as Fedex/ Kinkos or Walgreens will take the photos and give them to you directly. Visa Applications are most often rejected due to inappropriate passport type photos! Any photo that you take yourself is not an appropriate photo. Please click here for a fully detailed description of the requirements for your passport/visa type photos.
- Parent Permission Form - biological/custodial parents must sign a form authorizing their student's entire exchange while residing in the host country. Any parent exercising custodial authority will need to sign the form. In the event both parents are not able sign, please provide legal documentation to support the absence of a parent's signature, ie divorce decree, certification of abandonment, 'father not named' on birth certificate, death certificate, etc. Step-parents CANNOT normally sign this form.
- Medical Insurance - IYWT doesn't handle medical health insurance policies, therefore your best resource if you are required to provide proof of medical insurance will be checking with both your sending and host Rotary District. You may be required to purchase insurance through your host countries socialized medical plans either prior to your departure or once you arrive in your host country.
- Host Guarantee Form - ALL parties involved must review your Host Guarantee Form (the official acceptance form) and agree to accept you. You and your sending Rotary complete your sections. It is then sent to your hosting Rotary, and completed and signed by various entities in your host country. It is then returned to your sponsoring District Chairman. Once the form is returned you're officially accepted as a Rotary Youth Exchange student to that country.
The visa process can be quite confusing and frustrating. As stated above, IYWT needs all paperwork from both the student and Rotary before the visa can be obtained.
Therefore, to guide and keep both you and Rotary updated on your progress, you will be able to view online what documents you have submitted and what document are still outstanding. It also advises you if a document needs correction, in the Agent Notes Problem/Solution section of the document. This lists ALL of the documents required to successfully obtain your visa for your host country.
It is divided into TWO SECTIONS online in the Host Country Entry Requirements tab:
- Student/Parent Responsibility: You the student only need to be concerned about completing and submitting to IYWT the Student/Parent portion of these documents. View the Document Information for details and instructions on documents located in this section.
- Rotary Responsibility: Rotarians are very responsible and feel it is their primary duty to provide, on a timely basis, the documents they are responsible for, so you can depart at the correct time and have a successful and legal exchange year. These documents arrive any time in April, May, even up until August. BE PATIENT as we wait for these documents if they have not arrived.
In both sections, it reveals when we have received certain documents, and if they are complete or we need to send them back to the sender for correction or completion.
(Please note your Rotarian may send the documents they are responsible for directly to you, instead of IYWT - if so, and they are missing from your online record, please make a copy and send the originals on to us).
Lastly, a note of caution! You may receive advice from truly concerned individuals--including Rotarians, here and overseas, and Host Families. They may advise you, with the very best of intentions on procedures you should undertake, or answers for certain visa documents. Even if you contact the correct consulate directly, there may be some confusion as to the 'type' of visa you are applying for and you will get further misdirection. All of this can lead to unnecessary expense, time, and even wasted trips to the consulate.
SO, PLEASE, verify any suggestions or answers you receive from these parties with us at IYWT before you take unneeded action and delay your visa issuance due to faulty answers on documents we have provided to you.