Barcelona Pre-Departure


Studying abroad comes with a lot of steps and can be overwhelming at times. Use this checklist to make sure you aren’t missing any important steps and you have an understanding of what you must complete prior to departing. We will send you e-mail notifications for when to begin/complete these steps. Complete these items as soon as you receive notice from CAPA or your home institution.

Apply for a passport
Notify CAPA if you have academic accommodations at your home university
Notify CAPA of concerns about managing your health
Register with STEP (US citizens only)
Apply for Student Visa (Semestser only, we will send detailed instructions)
Photo for ISIC (By time you depart to bring to Spain)
Book a flight (Sooner rather than later to avoid expensive fares)
Share flight details with CAPA when requested (3 weeks prior)
Complete CAPA registration for courses (3 months before program)

In addition to the items above that must be completed as programmatic requirements, the following is a list of other to-dos that you should be taking care of prior to departure.

Apply for scholarships
Create a budget
Notify your bank that you’ll be out of the country
Meet with your academic advisor to plan coursework for the program and for the semester you return to campus
Talk to your doctor about prescriptions and maintaining your well-being abroad
Review the Pre-Departure website in entirety
Attend an orientation (in-person through your university and CAPA webinar)
Join CAPA Facebook group
Consider if you’ll bring a smart phone or leave it
Download relevant apps
Obtain local currency
Purchase travel items
Begin learning useful phrases in language
Think about housing for return to US
Check in periodically with home campus study abroad office
OTHER (vote, register, taxes, what else to be taken care of from a distance?)

Passports and Visas


Register with the US Department of State (US Citizens Only)


All international travel requires a valid passport – without one you will not be allowed to fly to or enter another country. To study abroad, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the end of the program. If you don’t already have a passport (or your passport will expire within 6 months after the program), you need to start the process to obtain a passport immediately. US citizens can check the US Postal Service website for more information about the passport application process.

We recommend:

  • Upload a copy of your passport to your CAPA application.
  • Leave a copy of your passport with a trusted friend or family member at home.


All students staying in Barcelona for more than 90 days need to apply for a student visa. Your program manager will confirm if you do need a visa for your program.

Visa Process:

  • It is recommended that you begin the visa application process as soon as your program manager or college/university sends you the first visa instructions. You should not delay even one day after receiving the instructions!
  • You cannot officially apply for your visa until 90 days before the start of your program. (You can, however, begin to fill out the application and gather your supporting documents)
  • The visa application is done in person at a Spanish Consulate
  • There is a fee for the visa application which will differ by Consulate location.

NON-US Citizens: Please note that you many have a different visa process than US citizens. It is VERY important that you bring this to the attention of your CAPA Program Manager as soon as possible. While we cannot advise you on situation specific requirements to submit your application under these circumstances, we may be able to point you towards the appropriate resources.

Students with a Criminal Record: Please note that there could be complications to your visa process. It is VERY important that you bring this to the attention of your CAPA Program Manager as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our Student Service hotline at 1-800 793-0334.

Register with US Dept. of State (US Citizens Only)

Please take a moment to visit the website below and register your information by clicking on “Create an Account.”


  • U.S. embassies and consulates assist nearly 200,000 Americans each year who are victims of crime, accident, or illness, or whose family and friends need to contact them in an emergency.
  • Provide assistance and information when:
    • There is a personal emergency
    • Natural disaster
    • Terrorism
    • Civil unrest strikes during your foreign travel
  • By registering your trip, the embassy or consulate can locate you when necessary.

Registration is voluntary and costs nothing!

Booking Your Flight

Purchasing your Ticket
Barcelona Airport


You should book your flight to arrive into Barcelona on the first day of the program as indicated in your CAPAcket.

For example: If your program runs from March 1 until April 13, that means you are to arrive in Barcelona ON the 1st, and depart ON the 13th.

We do NOT recommend that you book a one way ticket into the country in which you are studying, as this could result in you being denied entry.

If you arrive into Barcelona before these dates or stay in Barcelona beyond them, your housing will not be available and you will be responsible for your own accommodations.


Check-in: 9:00 am until 5:00 pm at your residence/homestay on your arrival date

Check-out: 10:00 am on your departure date 

It’s advised to pick an overnight flight that arrives into Barcelona in the morning, rather than a daytime flight for which arrival arrangements will be trickier, and you are likely to get into Barcelona late in the evening.

If your flight arrives in Barcelona earlier than 9 am, you will still have plenty of time to make it to your residence.

  • For example: If you arrived at 7 am, between going through immigration, collecting your luggage, and traveling to your housing you are still not likely to get to central Barcelona until 9am.
  • For example: If you arrive at 5 am, we would recommend waiting at the airport and grabbing breakfast, so you will arrive at your residence after 9 am. If you arrive at your residence before 9 am, you will need to wait before you can access your apartment.

If your flight arrives after 5 pm, CAPA will be in touch you with you separately to advise you on what you should do.

Purchasing your Ticket

There are a number of options out there for finding discount airfare, and even more options if you are a student/under 26. It’s important to be aware that the least expensive plane ticket will generally also be the least flexible. Be prepared to pay high fees to change your return date, and even higher fees should you need to change your outgoing date. and

These companies offer airfare deals especially for students. Often they are able to contract specific rates with the airlines that are not published for other travelers. Additionally, some of these fares have more flexible approaches towards changing your return date, in case you decide to stay on after your studies.

**Traveler’s Tip: It never hurts to get an agent from both companies on the phone, as occasionally they can find even better deals.,,,,,, and

These are all search engines that allow you to sift through offers from numerous airlines and consolidators to check for the best deal.

**Traveler’s Tip:

  • Check the airline’s website after finding a good deal on these websites. Sometimes you will be able to get a better schedule at the same price, or find an even better discount. Airline websites can surprise you with a good deal from time to time and it never hurts to check.
  • Remember that booking airfare over the phone will usually carry a surcharge, but if you feel more comfortable talking through the investment, it can be worth it.
  • Look for travel predictor apps and websites – they can give you an idea as to where prices are going to go in the next few weeks – such as if prices are expected to rise, drop or stay the same. It’s not error-proof, but if you are deciding when to take the plunge and purchase your ticket, it can be helpful.

Barcelona Airport

Most international flights will bring you into Barcelona El-Prat Airport (BCN). We will provide you with instructions for getting from the airport to your accommodations in your CAPAcket about 2 weeks prior to your program start date. You can also look at our Getting Around section to find out more about how to get to and from the airport.


You’re probably beginning to wonder how you can fit everything you need into just a couple of suitcases and are trying to figure out what you need to take care of before you leave. Here are some tips on what to pack and what to do before leaving for your semester in a convenient PDF format.

CAPA Barcelona Packing List

CAPA Barcelona Documents List

Important Note: You will want to look into the baggage restrictions for the airline you are taking. Some airlines will allow you to check two large suitcases for international flights, but you definitely want to find out the size and weight restrictions so that you don’t end up having to pay extra for heavy baggage.

Check out this short video on how to pack for study abroad!




10 Ways to Maximize Your Study Abroad Experience
Check out the CAPA Pinterest boards to find articles such as this to help you get the most out of your study abroad experience!

Have Questions?

CAPA Pre-Departure Services Team

+1 (800) 793 0334


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