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SAO Requirements

So now that you have applied, what is next? As a student studying abroad in the upcoming academic term(s), please also remember to address the following:
  1. Your Admission Information
  2. Passport and Visa
  3. Pre-Departure Orientation
  4. Credit Approval
  5. Financial Aid/Scholarship Transfer
  6. On-Campus Accommodation
  7. Power of Attorney

Admission information: Read the admissions information from your host university or study abroad program once you receive it. Almost all programs require you to return a signed contract and usually a deposit, along with other time-sensitive information.

Passport and Visa: You must hold a valid passport and you may need a visa to enter and live in your host country. The SAO does not assist in obtaining passports or visas. Passports take 2-6 weeks to obtain. Some visas take as long as 3 months. You must have your passport before you can apply for a visa and it should be valid within 6 months of the end date of your program. Passport applications are available online. If you do not already have a passport, apply now. Passport photos are available through appointment at commonvision: UMBC Design & Print Center, Commons 309 for $5.00.

Pre-Departure Orientation: All students studying abroad in the summer and fall of 2015 must attend the Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation on Saturday, April 18 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm in Admin 101. Parents, partners, grandparents or friends are welcome to attend with you if they wish. Please feel free to bring a lunch or snacks since we are meeting midday and most campus dining is closed on the weekends.

Credit Approval: You must submit a completed Verification of Transferability (VOT) form to the Registrar by May 1 for summer and fall programs in order to obtain credit for your classes taken overseas. The VOT form is mailed to all applicants following the March 10 deadline and also distributed to students at the Pre-Departure Orientation. The transfer of your financial aid and scholarships is dependent upon having a complete VOT. To complete the form, follow these 3 simple steps.

  1. Gather course information on the classes you wish to take. You should get information on more courses than you plan to take for flexibility once overseas.
  2. Bring course information and VOT form to your academic advisor(s) for approval of courses in your major/minor.  They can only approve course equivalencies in their department.  Their signature is required on the VOT form even if you do not plan to take major courses while abroad, as it will serve as your advising clearance later on.
  3. Bring the course information and VOT form signed by your academic advisor to the UMBC Registrar’s Office. The Registrar will be able to determine how courses outside of your major/minor will transfer and grant you permission to enroll in the appropriate AWAY course for your term abroad.  You will leave your VOT form with the Registrar. They will evaluate additional courses, and send you a scanned copy of your VOT for your records.

Note:  Once abroad, if you enroll in one or more classes that were not approved on your VOT, you can request approval via MyUMBC>Request Help>Classes and Grades>Registration. List the term you are abroad and your student ID in the subject line (i.e. Fall 2015 Study Abroad Inquiry for XX12345). Copy and paste your course description(s) into the body on the RT ticket. You should be sure to copy your advisor if it is for your major/minor and always copy Dr. Souders.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: You must apply for your federal financial aid (loans, Pell Grant) and UMBC merit scholarships to transfer by December 10 for winter and spring programs. You are encouraged to apply for outside scholarships. In order to facilitate your financial aid and scholarship disbursement, you must request an Official Study Abroad Budget from the SAO. Your Official Budget consists of tuition, fees, room, board, airfare, passport, visa, and personal spending money. You can usually find this information online at your study abroad program’s website. E-mail the URL of your study abroad program’s budget information to to request an Official Study Abroad Budget, which we will then prepare for you. You do not need to request this if you do not plan to use financial aid or scholarship money.

  • For UMBC Merit Scholarships you need to submit the Official Study Abroad Budget and letter of acceptance to your financial aid counselor in the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office. Meyerhoff Scholars must take at least two science courses abroad. NOTE: Merit scholarships transfer for one semester only. You must apply prior to departure to have them transfer for more than one semester.
  • For Federal or Maryland State Aid you need to bring the Official Study Abroad Budget and acceptance letter to to your financial aid counselor in the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office and sign their Statement of Understanding.  Maryland State Aid can only be used for Maryland state programs.
  • For Private Scholarships you need to confirm requirements with the scholarship provider and contact the SAO if they require support documentation.

On-Campus Accommodation: For students studying abroad in the fall, you should contact Wendy Crowe ( in Residential Life and let her know that you plan to apply for housing for the spring semester only. For students studying abroad in the spring, you must cancel your housing contract with Wendy Crowe in Residential Life. Your damage deposit will carry over if you study abroad.

Power of Attorney:  This document gives someone at home (usually a parent) the ability to conduct regular university business on your behalf.  You are strongly encouraged to obtain a Power of Attorney agreement before you leave. Our office does not require a copy of this document.