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Passports and Visas

If you already have a U.S. passport, CHECK TO SEE that it is valid through the 8th November 2012. PRC regulations require that foreign passports be valid for at least 6 months. The group is scheduled to exit PRC customs on 5 June 2012. The 8th November 2012 is 6 months after that date.

Thus, all participants in the East Asia Program must have a passport valid at least through the end of 8 November 2012. If you do not have a valid passport, or if it expires before 8 November 2012, you should apply IMMEDIATELY for a new passport. Because of new U.S. regulations requiring passports for visits to Canada and Mexico, there has been a flood of applications for U.S. passports, and this has virtually over-whelmed the passport application process. Applications for U.S. passports now sometimes take several months to process. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO APPLY FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT. APPLY IMMEDIATELY.

To ensure timely procurement of your U.S. passport, you may wish to use a document service. For a hefty fee they can procure a passport for you within a few days. I recommend Travel Document Service - email: support@traveldocs.com or telephone: 1-800-874-5100.

U.S. citizens do not require advance visas for visits to South Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. Advance visas are required by U.S. citizens for visits to the People’s Republic of China. The East Asia program will apply as a group for PRC visas. PRC visa application forms and general information are available at: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84246.htm

Non U.S. citizens should check with the consulates of South Korea and Hong Kong, and the representative office of Taiwan, to see if advance visas are required for citizens of their nationality to visit those customs area.