First Things First

Before you do anything, make an appointment with the Coordinator in the Office of International & Off-Campus Studies.

Getting Approved by Cornell College

If you plan to study through an affiliated course, you must first apply for approval from Cornell for either a semester-long, a year-long, or an exchange program. This application is also the petition to take your need-based aid with you on the program. The final deadline for this petition is the first Monday in December of the year prior to the program start date. This includes a recommendation letter from a professor and a personal statement, so please plan accordingly.

  • If you miss the deadline, contact the Coordinator of International & Off-Campus Studies. (Missing the deadline may affect your funding, but you will still have options to study off-campus.)
  • The Application form (the Off-Campus Studies Petition) should be completed (with signatures) and returned to the Coordinator of International & Off-Campus Studies 90 days before you plan to travel to your chosen program.

Contacting the Affiliated Program or Exchange Program

For Affiliated Programs, you can start the application process even before you are approved by Cornell. (However, we recommend that you do not put down a deposit into you have been approved and/or after you have met with Financial Assistance and thoroughly understand how you will finance your off-campus experience.) The Programs' contact information and applications can be found online.

  • Find the Program Advisor for many of our Affiliated Programs here.
  • If a Program Advisor is not listed, talk to the Coordinator of International & Off-Campus Studies to learn more about the program or search the program's website and talk to someone from the program directly.

For our exchange programs, Cornell College will nominate you after you are approved. Please contact the Coordinator of International & Off-Campus Studies for exchange program deadlines and application information as soon as you know you are interested in a program.

Passports and Visas


A passport is required for US citizens to travel to most foreign countries, including Canada and Mexico. Our office recommends that you apply for a passport ASAP, allowing at least 6-8 weeks for processing. Applications for new passports can be found on the US Department of State website.

  • It is important to remember that if you also need a visa to study abroad, you will mail your passport with your visa application to the embassy or consulate of the country where you will study. The visa application process can take months, so the sooner you obtain your new or renewed passport, the better. 

International Students will also need their passport for additional international travel.


A visa is required for US citizens to travel to some foreign countries for short or extended stays. It is your responsibility to determine if you need a visa.

  • Contact the Affiliated Program or Exchange Program to learn if past students needed a visa.
  • Go to the website for the embassy of the country where you will study and research the need for a visa, based on the length of your study abroad experience.
  • If you plan to work or participate in volunteer work while abroad, you may need a different type of visa. (For example, students studying in the United Kingdom for a semester do not need a visa; but if they are also doing volunteer work (service learning), they do need a visa.)
  • (Also, when you stop in another country on your way to and from your program, you may need a transit visa for that country. So, please check your flight itineraries and then check these countries' embassy websites too.)

If you are an international student interested in participating in an off-campus opportunity you may need to obtain additional visas.

Please update International & Off-Campus Studies about your research to determine if you need a visa.

90 Days Before you Travel

Off-Campus Studies Petition

Obtain the proper signatures and submit this form to the Coordinator of International & Off-Campus Studies.

Student Waiver (Non-Cornell Programs)

This Student Waiver Form is required by all students studying off-campus on any program that is not a Cornell College course. This includes all exchange, affiliated and non-affiliated program participants.

Please note that failure to turn in this information to International & Off-Campus Studies may result in removal from the program and/or the inability of Cornell College's off-campus insurance policy to provide coverage for the student. 

Country-Specific Health & Safety Information Meeting

Your health and safety is of utmost importance to us and to your family. Some countries will have require additional vaccinations, which you may need months before you travel in order to be effective. So, you are required to do one of these two things 90 days before you travel:

  • E-mail Nancy Reasland, RN, Director of Student Health Services to arrange a meeting OR
  • Go to a travel clinic or travel physician for country-specific information and submit proof of this visit to Nancy

Nancy will also send you important health and safety information by e-mail.

Petition for Transfer of Credit

Students need to submit Petitions for Transfer of Credit for their off-campus study courses if they want to earn credit. For each course, the student will take a petition to the appropriate Chair (ex. Geology Department Chair for an off-campus geology course) for help completing the form. Then, the student will submit a copy of the petition to the Registrar. 

Submitting these forms before you start each course is the best way to ensure that you will receive credit for an off-campus course (which can go towards your Cornell degree).

  • Remember - you must receive a C or higher to receive credit. 

Credit earned on non-Cornell off-campus courses is not calculated into your Cornell cumulative GPA.