Your passport’s expiration date is of utmost importance to the immigration officials in the countries we visit. Each government mandates a “minimum validity,” with many using a six-month rule, meaning that the visitor’s passport must remain valid for six (6) months AFTER the last day of travel in that country. A few nations have more lenient minimum validity rules, but since we typically visit multiple countries throughout the voyage, meeting the six-month standard is compulsory in most cases. If your passport expires sooner than six months after the final day of your program, we recommend that you talk to the passport office about their backlog and renewal timeframe. You may also contact our office to learn more about whether you would be able to travel on a passport that expires earlier than six months after your trip ends.
US Citizens: Those traveling on a US passport rarely need to apply for specific country visas in advance of the program. In certain circumstances, we are required to process a vessel cruising permit or visitation visa on your behalf before the trip. If this is the case, we’ll let you know in advance whether there are any steps that we need you to take.
Students traveling on non-U.S. passports: Aside from needing a valid US ESTA to transit through the United States (if applicable), students traveling on a Canadian or an EU passport rarely need to apply for any other specific country visas in advance of the program. Learn more about the ESTA requirements, and whether this applies to you here – https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.
Citizens of Asian, African, and South American nations may need to apply for specific visas. Since we cannot apply for visas on your behalf, you must take the following steps as soon as you can.
- Contact our office and request a definitive list of the countries we will visit on the voyage. Please do not rely on the sample itineraries listed on our website.
- Verify visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for these destination countries.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
Sea|mester requires all students to be fully vaccinated* and boosted for COVID-19 before the voyage’s start date.
With most countries worldwide working hard to vaccinate their population as quickly as possible, there is considerable speculation on how vaccination status will change an individual’s ability to travel internationally. Many countries are adopting policies requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to fast-track quarantine requirements or even enter their Territory. These policies protect their population (many of whom may not receive the vaccine for some time) while restarting their tourism economy.
We respect individuals’ right to choose whether a COVID-19 vaccination is appropriate for them. Yet, as an international program visiting multiple international destinations, we must be ready to adhere to local policy while looking out for our students’, staff’s, and local community’s general health and safety. Any student with medical considerations or religious beliefs that precludes vaccination should contact us to discuss program options for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals.
*Fully vaccinated – current definition
The CDC considers individuals fully vaccinated for COVID-19 greater than or equal to 2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, etc.), or greater than or equal to 2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).
It’s possible that this definition may change with the recommendation of “booster shots” and will be updated in our protocols accordingly.
We know that each individual has unique medical considerations and understand that families have varying opinions on immunizations as a whole. While we are not physicians and cannot provide official or specific medical advice, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the trip and check that all standard immunizations and boosters are up to date.
The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov contains an excellent section that focuses on Travelers’ Health. This is a useful resource as you consider which precautions you might want to take. When completing your research, bear in mind that your voyage is almost 100% coastal. Many of the CDC’s recommendations are specific to agricultural or rural areas or regions within the country which we do not visit.