It’s very simple: if you want to study outside the U.S, you’ve GOT to have a passport. Current processing time for a new United States Passport is 10-13 weeks. Many countries require that you have a visa in order to study there and you cannot apply for a visa until you have a passport in hand. So if you are considering studying abroad for next semester or beyond and you do not have a valid passport, apply now. A passport is always a good thing to have, and they are valid for 10 years.
If you already have a passport, it will need to be valid for 6 months beyond the end date of your travels, so please keep that in mind and determine if you will need to renew your current passport before you plan on studying abroad. And if your current passport was issued before you were 16, you will need to renew it in person.
For further information and application instructions, visit the State Department’s passport website