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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Before You Go: Passports, Housing, And More


It's tempting to just pack a suitcase and go, but before you head to the airport, here are some key elements of the international job search you'll want to cover:


If this is the first time you've ever applied for a passport you will need to apply in person at a local acceptance facility, which is usually your local post office. You can apply for a passport through the post office. You'll need proof of citizenship and two identical photos. The process takes about one month. For complete information about passports, click on this link to the US Department of State. If you have a passport, check the date of issuance to make sure it won't expire before you return.

UT-Austin students, staff and faculty can get assistance with passports and other international travel issues at the International Office.


In addition to a passport, certain countries require a visa. The visa is generally stamped on your passport, and it is wise to obtain it before you leave the US.
 Contact the State Department for more information on visas.

Working Papers

Acquiring working papers is time-consuming and challenging and presents the biggest hurdle to working abroad. Most countries require a work permit for full-time and permanent jobs.
 It is very difficult to obtain a work permit in another country and the requirements vary from country to country. An employer has to prove that the foreign worker is uniquely qualified and a national candidate is not available.

Work permits need to be renewed on a regular basis. You will need to have an employment contract from a foreign company before you can enter that country on a working visa. To obtain a work permit, you might have to leave the country and return.

Find out the working visa requirements for your country of choice.
 If you work for the government, an international organization, or a large U.S. corporation, your employer will handle the details. You may need to pay local taxes and resident visa fees.

To obtain resident status in a country, usually:

  • You already have a job waiting for you;
  • You have means to live in a country without working;
  • You fulfill government criteria to establish your own business;
  • You are descended from or married to a national; or
  • You have lived in the country already for a number of years for a reason acceptable to the government, such as being a political refugee.

Check out these links for more information about obtaining working papers:

 BUNAC is probably the best site for most college students seeking their first international experience. For a fee, BUNAC can provide sponsorship for your work authorization which is difficult to get otherwise. You can work in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, and Ireland.
Going Global
 Excellent site with a country-by-country breakdown of the work permit restrictions and requirements.

 Billed as the world's most popular immigration advice site, this website provides almost everything you need to know about obtaining work permits for countries around the world.

Health Concerns

Two health issues are important: immunizations and insurance. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention runs an excellent website on Traveler's Health. You can find out about any health concerns related to the area you will be traveling to, as well as the required immunizations. Make sure your medical & accident insurance are valid in the country in which you travel. It you're using the services of BUNAC for your work permit, you can purchase insurance from them.

All Aboard Benefits
Offers a variety of insurance options for international travelers.

(Note: this is not an endorsement; always thoroughly investigate insurance offerings before signing up)

Budgetary Concerns

International work is at best usually a break-even proposition. You should not expect to earn a salary that would allow you to do more than cover the costs of living in your country of choice. In some cases, you will be paying an organization for an internship or volunteer experience where you won't be paid. For that reason, it's important to consider the financial ramifications of your decision.

  • Do a budget analysis.
  • Make sure you have enough money to survive at least two weeks before finding paid employment.
  • If you have student loans, talk to your parents about their expectations regarding repayment.
  • Make sure you can afford the flight home.         


Hotels are too expensive for an extended stay, so consider a youth hostel which offers a basic living environment at a good price. You can always use a hostel as a temporary place to stay while you find more permanent housing.

Links To Hostel Sites:
 Provides online bookings for hostels around the world.
Cheap hostels, youth hostels, international hostels & guesthouses: search by country or city. Over 6,000 hostels listed.
 Great article called Debunking the Myths of Hostels.

 Take a tour around the Virtual Youth Hostel to discover the many high-quality facilities and services you can expect in HI hostels.
Youth Hostel Association

 Locate youth hostels in England & Wales.
The Hostel Handbook

 On-line listing for all the hostels in the USA & Canada.

 View photographs of lodgings and read guest comments and reviews. Online booking with a live calendar of available beds
Japan Youth Hostels, Inc.
Japan Youth Hostel provides a lodging place for anyone who wants to enjoy safe, pleasant and economical traveling. They now cover 80 countries all over the world with 5,500 hostels. In Japan, approximately 350 facilities are scattered throughout the country from Hokkaido to Okinawa.

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