Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

General

If I want to participate in a Learning Abroad program, where should I start?

The UH Learning Abroad office will be your first stop. In addition to the information on the Webster you can obtain information from a Learning Abroad advisor. Please visit the Contact Us link to schedule an appointment. 

Where can I go abroad?

We can send students to just about every country on the globe. The Learning Abroad office will adhere to the recommendations regarding countries with U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings. Some exceptions may be made on a case-by-case and country-by-country basis depending on the severity of the warning and exact location of the program.

How long can I stay abroad?

Learning Abroad programs range in length from 1 week to a full academic year. 

Do I need to know the language?

In most cases, no. Many programs are taught in English. However, for non-English speaking countries, knowing the language is beneficial for ease in communication or furthering your experience. 

Where will I live while I'm abroad?

Housing options vary by program. Options often include a choice of living in an apartment, in residence hall, or with a host family.

Eligibility

What are the minimum qualifications required for participation in Learning Abroad programs?

Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students who have at least a 2.0 GPA and are in good disciplinary standing are eligible. Graduate and professional program students who have at least a 2.5 GPA and are in good disciplinary standingare eligible. (Some courses and  programs may require additional individual approval from an instructor and/or program provider.) Undergraduate students with a GPA from 2.0 to 2.499 must submit an approved Learning Abroad GPA Requirement Waiver to be eligible to participate in a program abroad. Please note that this waiver is separate from any program-specific eligibility requirements. 

If I am an undergraduate student, when can I go?

Learning Abroad recommends that you wait to go abroad until you have completed 12 credit hours, however some programs and funding opportunities have special restrictions or eligibility requirements.

If I am a graduate student, when can I go?

As a graduate student, you can participate if you have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Most graduate students participate in programs during the summer or during Winter or Spring breaks.

Academics

What courses can I take? 

There are no set restrictions on what you may study overseas, however you must obtain pre-approval from your academic department before taking the courses or applying for a program. 

Will I earn credit for all courses I take abroad? 

You will only earn credit for the courses that have been pre-approved on your course equivalency form. To ensure the credit earned will transfer (and count toward your degree), your form must be approved by your academic advisor and on file with the Learning Abroad office prior to leaving on your program. 

If I participate in a program, can I still graduate on time? 

Yes, if you plan ahead of time. The Learning Abroad advisors can help you find programs and courses that will supplement degree requirements. There are also programs and courses that will compliment to your degree or field of study. In both instances, the goal is for students to benefit from participating. Keeping students on track for graduation is the main focus. Students should not participate in programs during the semester they plan to graduate. 

If I need assistance with my transcripts or grades, with whom should I speak? 

Contact Learning Abroad . In most instances, an advisor will be able to assist you with both. 

If I need assistance with registration holds, who should I speak to? 

The person or department who placed the holds on your account will be the ones who remove them. The Learning Abroad advisors may be able to assist with academic holds that pertain to your Learning Abroad program. 

Costs

How much will it cost me?

A Learning Abroad fee of $75-$100 is applicable for Affiliated, Exchange, and VISP programs.

  • For Affiliated Programs, you pay the all fees directly to the program provider and the $100 fee to Learning Abroad.
  • For Exchange Programs, you pay UH tuition to UH and a learning abroad fee of $75 to Learning Abroad.
  • For Faculty-Led Programs, payment and member fees are given to the faculty member or college department. Please check with the college or the faculty for the fees.
  • Housing and living expenses will vary depending on the country and the type of living environment that you choose.

Do you offer scholarships and funding?

Yes. Learning Abroad offers a scholarship that is administered two times during each academic year- the International Education Fee Scholarship. For further information, please visit the scholarships page. In addition, there are various other funding sources available. 

Can I use financial aid to help fund a Learning Abroad program?

In many cases, yes. There may be restrictions based on the type of aid you receive. Please check with the Financial Aid Office to verify eligibility and for the appropriate financial aid documents. 

Assistance

If I need assistance while abroad, who should I contact? 

  • Affiliated Programs: Contact the program director or local (in-country) campus liaison 
  • Faculty-Led Programs: Contact the faculty member(s) in charge (if the situation hinders your access to the faculty member(s), contact the Learning Abroad office)
  • Exchange Programs: Contact the host university's international office or program liaison 

If you are experiencing an emergency, crisis situation, or have some other extenuating circumstances that are not being addressed by the aforementioned designated person(s), please contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, utilize the local (in-country) emergency services, and/or contact the Learning Abroad director. The Learning Abroad director will assess the severity of the situation and create an appropriate action plan. 

What should I do if I need to leave the country or discontinue my participation in a program? 

You may leave at any time for any reason. Your participation is voluntary and no one should require you stay against your will. If you do choose to leave, there may be certain consequences such as but not limited to:

  • Forfeiting further participation in the program 
  • Receiving Fs or failing grades for not completing required courses or materials
  • Not receiving credit for courses taken or attempted 
  • Loss of funding 
  • Repaying scholarship awards and other funding entities

Special consideration will be given for extenuating circumstances such as but not limited to:

  • Illness (self or family members)
  • War or severe political unrest
  • Natural disasters
  • Environmental conditions

You should take every precaution to complete your program successfully.

What should I do if I will need special assistance or accommodations to go abroad? 

Make an appointment with a Learning Abroad advisor to discuss your specific needs. Many programs can accommodate accessibility requirements, private or semi-private housing, specialized equipment, create a customized program, and facilitate other reasonable requests to make participation for all students possible.

Please note that accessibility laws and accommodations may vary by country and may be very different from U.S. laws and accommodations.

Learning Abroad is committed to helping all UH students have a meaningful experience overseas. 

Passports and Passport for Coogs

When is the last appointment time?

  • Due to the time it takes to process passport applications, the last appointment time is 12:30pm

How long will my appointment take?

  • Appointment times vary by individual, but most are approximately 20-30 minutes per application
  • Completing applications and reimbursement forms prior to your scheduled appointment will shorten appointment time 

Do I need to make an appointment?

  • Due to the high volume of applications, appointments are required
  • Walk-ins are allowed only on Fridays, but those who make appointments are given priority over walk-ins
  • Appointments should be made over the phone by calling 713-743-4687

What type of documents can I use to show proof of U.S. Citizenship?

  • To show proof of U.S. Citizenship, applicants must provide one of the following documents (original AND single-sided photocopy):
    • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport (no photocopy needed)
    • Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county, or state
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
    • Certificate of Naturalization
    • Certificate of Citizenship
  • For additional information, please visit state.gov

Proof of U.S. Citizenship must be submitted in original format. Originals will be returned to the applicant from the U.S. Department of State after processing is complete.

What type of documents can I use to show proof of identity?

  • To show proof of identity, applicants must bring one of the following documents:
    • Valid Texas Driver's License
    • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport (cannot be used as both proof of citizenship and proof of identity)
    • Naturalization Certificate (cannot be used as both proof of citizenship and proof of identity)
    • Current Government ID (city, state, or federal)
    • Current Military ID (military and dependents)
  • For additional information, please visit state.gov

Do I have to submit my application documents in person?

  • All DS-11 applicants must appear in person (including minors)
  • DS-82 applicants who are eligible for reimbursement must appear in person
  • DS-82 applicants who are ineligible for reimbursement should submit the applications by mail, following instructions on the application.

Do I need to have my passport photo taken before I come in?

  • No, you do not have to take your photo beforehand. The UH Passport Acceptance Facility provides photo services for your passport.
  • Passport photos are free for UH Students, Faculty, and Staff applicants.
    • Family members of UH Students, Faculty, and Staff are not eligible for free photos
  • Photos for non-UH Students, Faculty, and Staff applicants are $10 per person.
  • Must be paid by check or money order to the University of Houston.
    • Can be combined with check or money order for Facility Execution Fee, if applicable.
  • Photos must have been taken in the last 6 months.
  • See this Webster for more information regarding the U.S. Department of State passport photo requirements. 

What if I need my passport in fewer than 6 weeks?

  • For EXPEDITED SERVICE (estimated delivery in 3 weeks). For current processing times see state.gov. The following are optional fees to expedite processing and delivery time:

What if I need my passport in fewer than 3 weeks?

  • Unfortunately we are not able to process requests for passports in fewer than 3 weeks. If you are within 14 days of your anticipated departure date and have proof of travel (flight itinerary, hotel reservation, etc.) you may be able to make an appointment with the Houston Passport Agency at 1919 Smith Street in Downtown Houston. For more information, such as the contact number to schedule an appointment with the Houston Passport Agency, click here.
  • Please note that in order to qualify for reimbursement, UH students must process their passport applications in our office. No exceptions will be made.

What method of payment is accepted?

  • All fees must be paid using a personal check, a cashier’s check, or a money order. No exceptions can be made. 
  • No temporary checks. Consult your local banking institution for more information.
  • Money Orders may be purchased in post offices, banks, some grocery stores, or some gas stations.

Who do I make the check/money order out to?

  • The passport book or card fees with any optional expedite and/or overnight return delivery fees should be made payable to the U.S.Department of State
  • The Facility Execution Fee (of $25, if applicable), any Passport Photo Fees ($10 per person, if applicable), and any Photocopy Fees ($1 per photocopy, if applicable) should be made payable to the University of Houston
    • UH students will be billed the Facility Execution Fee via their PeopleSoft account
    • There is no fee for UH Students, Faculty, or Staff for photos or photocopies

But wait, I thought Passport for Coogs was free?

  • Although you will be required to pay for the passport up-front, you will be reimbursed for the cost of the passport book. The Facility Execution Fee ($25) and optional Expedited Service Fees ($15.45, $60 or $75.45) will not be reimbursed. 

How will I be reimbursed?

  • When you submit your U.S. passport application with the Learning Abroad office, you will be required to complete a vendor set-up form, W-9, and a direct deposit form.
  • The reimbursement will be a direct deposit to your personal bank account as designated on the direct deposit form.

When will I be reimbursed?

  • It will take approximately 6-8 weeks from the day you submit the reimbursement forms to receive the direct deposit.

Who is eligible for reimbursement?

  • UH Undergraduate students not graduating in the current semester
  • Students of any classification or class year who are registered for a learning abroad program
  • Students must be registered in UH courses for the current term to be eligible
    • During summer, students must either be registered for UH summer courses or fall courses to be eligible 

Can I be reimbursed for renewing my old passport?

  • Yes. To be eligible to receive reimbursement for passport renewals, the student's previous passport must either already be expired or have less than one year (fewer than 365 days) of validity left at time of application 

I received my passport or renewed it from another acceptance facility, can I be reimbursed? 

  • No. The reimbursement for Passport for Coogs can only be done for passport applications and renewals processed at the passport acceptance facility at the University of Houston

For any other passport-related questions, please visit the U.S. Department of State Frequently Asked Questions.