In an effort to provide support for University students and employees who might require a visa for their travels abroad, Pitt has vendor relationships with two visa and passport preparation services TDS (Travel Document Systems) and CIBT visas. These services are available at special University pricing to all University faculty, staff and students for both business and personal travel for as long as you are affiliated with Pitt. Please use your Pitt email address when requesting these services.
Utilizing these services
What does a visa processing service provider do?
A visa processing service provider aids in preparation, review and submission of your visa application and associated packet materials. Each provider will tell you what materials you need to provide such as: a photo, fees for that country and tips on how to complete the application properly. You will then submit to the provider your passport, application and any other materials for submission. The provider will then work with the respective consulate or embassy to obtain your visa. These services are particularly useful when you need to expedite an application or are dealing with a country where the application process might be more involved. Please note, that even if you you use a service provider, some countries may still require you visit a consulate in person depending on the type of visa.
Why use a visa service provider?
No one is required to use a visa processing service; however, the use of one might significantly expedite and simplify your application process. The key is to determine if such a service is right for your circumstances. Not all visa requirements are stringent or even complicated. For instance, some countries require you purchase a “visa” upon arrival at their airport. A straightforward process like this, might not require the time, planning and expenditure that go along with using a visa service. Other factors such as the time you have prior to your travel (3 weeks vs 3 months), the need to expedite the process or not and the application requirements/processing times for certain countries; could influence whether or not you should consider using a visa processing service.
A word about U.S. Passports
If you are a US passport holder in need of a renewal or a first time applicant for a US Passport, you are welcome to use these services, however, please note (if you reside in the Pittsburgh area), there is a County office that works with passports located in Pittsburgh, and they process applications and their website has instructions on obtaining your passport. That can be found HERE. Based on the information and the steps outlined you can decide if using one of the above services is really necessary for you.
Will you need a visa?
There are several ways to determine if your travel to another country will require a visa:
- Visit the Department of State Country Information Page and after picking your country, you can expand the section titled Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements.
- Enter your travel information directly into TDS or CIBT to see what your requirements are.
- Finally, you can contact your respective host nation’s Consular General in the country which you currently reside.
Requesting your visa
Once you have determined your need for a visa and subsequent visa processing service and know which provider you wish to use, you can begin the process by clicking either one of the below buttons.